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    Major Chili Pathogen Threatens Chili Production

    Chili (Capsicum annuum L.) is an important tropical and subtropical crop due to its high consumption, nutritional and cash value to farmers and consumers, both in developed and developing countries.

    Among the five species of cultivated Capsicum, C. annuum is one of the most common cultivated crops worldwide. Chili has many culinary advantages; it comprises numerous chemicals including steam-volatile oils, fatty oils, capsaicinoids, carotenoids, vitamins, protein, fiber and mineral elements. Many chili constituents are important for nutritional value, flavor, aroma, texture and color. An interesting fact is that fresh green chili peppers contain more vitamin C than citrus fruits and fresh red chili has more vitamin A than carrots.

    The world chili production is around 20 million tons cultivated on approximately 3.7 million hectares. China is the world leader in chili production followed by India, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Thailand, and Turkey.

    Chili does not require complex farm practices for successful farming. The major constraints to chili production are diseases caused by fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Although chili has few serious destructive diseases such as bacterial wilt, mosaic disease and cucumber mosaic virus, anthracnose disease caused by the Colletotrichum species is the most economically important disease, reducing marketable yield for 50% of the crop production.


    Healthy chili plants in field

    Anthracnose causes extensive pre- and post-harvest damage to chili fruits, leaves and stems causing anthracnose lesions. Even small anthracnose lesions on chili fruits can reduce their marketable value. Typical fruit symptoms are circular or angular sunken lesions, with concentric rings of acervuli that are often wet and produce pink to orange conidial masses.


    Anthracnose symptoms on chili fruits and leaves

    Chili Anthracnose Disease Management

    Effective control of Colletotrichum diseases usually involves the combined use of cultural, biological and chemical control and intrinsic resistance:

    • cultural practices: planting of pathogen-free chili seeds and weeds elimination; crops rotation every 2-3 years with crops that are not alternative hosts of Colletotrichum; good drainage field free from infected plant debris; planting of cultivars that bear fruit with a shorter ripening period to avoid fruit infection by the fungus
    • use of resistant cultivars to eliminate losses from diseases and chemical and mechanical expenses of disease control
    • use of chemicals: the most common and practical method to control anthracnose diseases; care should be taken not to use only one chemical compound in crop protection, otherwise fungicide tolerance may appear
    • use of bio fungicides: crude extract from rhizome, leaves and creeping branches of sweet flag (Acorus calamus L.), palmorosa grass (Cymbopogon martinii L.) oil, Ocimum sanctum leaf extract, and neem (Azadirachia indica) oil could restrict the growth of the anthracnose fungus
    • biological control: antagonistic bacterial strains (DGg13 and BB133) were found to effectively control the disease; Trichoderma species are able to effectively compete for surface area, thereby reducing pathogen infection success, as well as Bacillus subtilis and Candida oleophila.

    When protecting the chili farm, the most important factor is the monitoring of weather conditions and protecting crops on time. Let Agrivi farm management software helps you with its detailed 7-day weather forecast for every field you mark on a satellite map. According to weather forecast algorithams, when weather conditions are favorable for the infection, the software alerts you about that possible pest attack on a particular field. For every insect pest and disease, a farmer can see the list of all active substances to treat the pest with, as well as the list of commercial products containing that substance.

    Identification and monitoring of pathogens is the only effective way to mitigate chili disease. Reduce the number of field visits and stop guessing what the weather will be like. Use Agrivi farm management software and ensure a healthy harvest!

    Text sources: Science Daily || NCBI

    Image sources: UASR Agropedia || APS || Hatch Chile Season || 21 Food