Written Paper

Occurrence and Importance of Bunt (TILLETIA SPP.) on Wheat in Ethiopia.  [1980]

Neimann,E. and Lemma Kifle and Awgechew Kidane(plant pathologist;plant pathologist and Senior Technical Assistant) Ethiopian Journal of Agricultural Sciences [Corporate Author]

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What seed samples were collected in 1974/75 from farmers' fields and local markets from all wheat growing areas of Ethiopia and tested by a washing method for bunt (Tilletia spp.) spore contamination. About 10% of the 302 tested samples, particularly those received from the highland areas of Bichena, Mete _ Ginchi _ Ambo, Sheno _ Sendafa, Ambo _ Mecha _ Guder and Tefki, had a very high spore contamination indicating that in these areas bunt is still one of the main wheat problems. Occurrence of bunt of wheat was reported in Ethiopia first by Castellani and Ciferri in 1937 (1) and later in 1950 (2). Bunt was also mentioned by Stewart (9) to occur in the Kaffa Administrative Region. Both species of wheat bunt, tilletia foetida (Wallr.) Liro and t. caries (DC.) Tul., were recorded but no information was given by the authors on the frequency of these two species or on the overall economic importance of bunt for the wheat crop in Ethiopia. In 1967, however, Dagnatchew (4) gave a more detailed report on the wheat bunt situation stating: "_Tilletia foetida is the prevailing species. It causes considerable damage above 1400m altitude and is common in the areas of Meta Robi (west of Holetta), Sendafa, Sheno and Dillu (Tefki valley). Undoubtedly, it is also present in other cool wheat producing areas of the country_". Wheat bunt causes damage mainly in farmers; fields but rarely occurs on agricultural stations and, as a result, agronomists and even plant pathologist
s are not always fully aware of the problem. In Europe and North America bunt control started a hundred years ago and the disease in these regions is now ell under control (6). In Ethiopia however, so far, little has been done. A programme to reduce wheat bunt infection in Ethiopia was started at the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), Holetta, in 1973. As a first step, in order to determine the main bunt-threatened areas for which control programmes would be needed, a survey was conducted testing wheat seed samples for the amount of bunt spores carried on them. From the results, conclusions can be drawn on the importance of bunt for the region from which the seed originates.