Screening of Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata ( L.)Walp) Varieties for Resistance to Leaf Spot in Southern Guinea Savannah Agro- Ecology of Nigeria
Five cowpea varieties (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp) namely UAM 09 1055-6, UAM 09 1051-1, IT 99k-573-1-1, IT 90k-277-2 and IT 99k-573-2-1 were investigated for fungi associated with the seed, leaf spot disease incidence and severity in Makurdi (07o 45’- 7o 50’N and 08o 45’ - 08o 50’E ; 98 m)and Otobi (7°07’ - 7°11'N and 8° 05- 8°10'E) in Benue State, Nigeria under natural infection. The effect ofleaf spot incidence and severity on the growth and yield of cowpea varieties were also evaluated. Fungi associated with the seeds and leaf spot lesions were isolated and identified. Diseased leaf samples from the study locations were found to be infected with Fusarium verticillioides, Curvularia lunata, Aspergillus tamarii Kite, Lasiodiplodia theobromae, Aspergillus flavus Link and Aspergillus niger van Tiegh, Pythium spp, Fusarium solani, Macrophomina phaseolina and Phoma sp. Otobi field had significantly higher incidence and severity of leaf spot disease than the Makurdi field. Cowpea variety IT 99k-573-1-1, IT 99k-573-2-1 and IT 90k-277-2 were classified as moderately resistant in Makurdi with a mean incidence of 22.23%, 16.97% and 16.67% respectively while varieties UAM 09 1051-1 and UAM 09 1055-6 were classified as Moderately susceptible and Highly susceptible with mean leaf spot incidence of 41.67% and 99.17% respectively. In Otobi, all the cowpea varieties screened were classified as Susceptible to leaf spot incidence with the exception of variety IT 90k-277-2 which was classified as moderately susceptible to leaf spot disease.
Key words: Cowpea, leaf spot, screening, resistant, susceptible.
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