Rice blast disease in Malaysia: Options for its control

Parent Category: 2020

E. NurulNahar, P. Adam, M. Mazidah, I. Roslan and Y. Mohd Rafii


Rice blast disease is one of the major constraints responsible for considerable damage on rice production in Malaysia. Rice varieties resistant to blast disease have been developed since 1960 and it is the most economical control method to be used by farmers. However, evolution of the rice blast pathogen, Pyricularia oryzae Carava [teleomorph: Magnaporthe grisea (Herbert) Barr] resulted in the emergence of new virulent pathotypes, leading to breakdown of the resistant varieties after several seasons of planting. The use of chemical fungicides to control rice blast disease has long been viewed as the last resort. This article reviews the concept and applications of resistant varieties, chemical fungicides and cultural practices to control rice blast, focusing mainly on rice cultivation in Malaysia. To manage rice blast in an effective and sustainable way, all crop protection practices for future research should consider new approaches such as using silicon fertilizer as it is known to be capable of controlling diseases caused by fungi, breeding lines with resistant rice blast genes and biocontrol agents which are still not widely practiced in local rice cultivation. 

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