Karnal bunt (Tilletia indica)

The fungus Tilletia indica Mitra, cause of karnal bunt (partial bunt) disease of wheat, originated in Asia but has now spread to Mexico and more recently the USA. The fungus can occasionally cause very significant reductions in grain quality and is the subject of stringent quarantine regulations in many countries. The recent outbreak in the USA has led to the international re-evaluation of quarantine and eradication measures to control this and other seed-borne pathogens.

From the Review of Plant Pathology, we are featuring Karnal bunt (Tilletia indica) of wheat – a review by S. Nagarajan, S.S. Aujla, G.S. Nanda, I. Sharma, L.B. Goel, J. Kumar and D.V. Singh.

Karnal bunt will be the subject of a discussion session to be held during the International Plant Pathology Congress, Edinburgh, U.K. August 9 to16, 1998. This session, organized by Dr Mark Holderness of CAB International on behalf of the Seed Pathology Committee of the International Society for Plant Pathology, is intended to provide a forum for discussion of the issues and implications which have arisen out of the spread of karnal bunt to the USA and the lessons to be learned from this outbreak. The session will include presentations from a number of key scientists concerned with quarantine and disease control issues in regard to karnal bunt and other seed-borne diseases and will provide a forum for extensive discussion of these issues. Subjects to be covered are:

Eradication vs management; the quarantine and regulatory perspective and lessons from karnal bunt

Assessing the risks posed by karnal bunt and other exotic seed-borne diseases to European cereal crops

Implications of karnal bunt and similar diseases for seed health in other gramineaceous crops

Karnal bunt, lessons for global seed and grain movement

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