Drought-tolerant Desmodium species effectively suppress parasitic striga weed and improve cereal grain yields in western Kenya

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Midega, C. A. O., Wasonga, C. J., Hooper, A. M., Pickett, J. A. and Khan, Z. R. 2017. Drought-tolerant Desmodium species effectively suppress parasitic striga weed and improve cereal grain yields in western Kenya. Crop Protection. 98 (August), pp. 94-101.

AuthorsMidega, C. A. O., Wasonga, C. J., Hooper, A. M., Pickett, J. A. and Khan, Z. R.
Abstract

Abstracts The parasitic weed Striga hermonthica Benth. (Orobanchaceae), commonly known as striga, is an increasingly important constraint to cereal production in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), often resulting in total yield losses in maize (Zea mays L.) and substantial losses in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench). This is further aggravated by soil degradation and drought conditions that are gradually becoming widespread in SSA. Forage legumes in the genus Desmodium (Fabaceae), mainly D. uncinatum and D. intortum, effectively control striga and improve crop productivity in SSA. However, negative effects of climate change such as drought stress is affecting the functioning of these systems. There is thus a need to identify and characterize new plants possessing the required ecological chemistry to protect crops against the biotic stress of striga under such environmental conditions. 17 accessions comprising 10 species of Desmodium were screened for their drought stress tolerance and ability to suppress striga. Desmodium incanum and D. ramosissimum were selected as the most promising species as they retained their leaves and maintained leaf function for longer periods during their exposure to drought stress conditions. They also had desirable phenotypes with more above ground biomass. The two species suppressed striga infestation, both under controlled and field conditions, and resulted in significant grain yield increases, demonstrating the incremental capability of Desmodium species in striga suppression. These results demonstrate beneficial effects of Desmodium species in enhancing cereal productivity in dry areas.

Year of Publication2017
JournalCrop Protection
Journal citation98 (August), pp. 94-101
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.cropro.2017.03.018
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online24 Mar 2017
Publication process dates
Accepted17 Mar 2017
ISSN02612194
PublisherElsevier
Copyright licenseCC BY

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