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Production of cowpea, (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.), the main food legume in Niger, is greatly depressed by pests and diseases. The major problems result from the parasitic weed Striga gesnerioides (Willd) Vatke; Macrophomina phaseolina (Tassi) Goidanitch, a fungal disease; and the bacterial disease caused by Xanthomonas campestris vignicola (Pammel) Dowson; together with various viral diseases. This paper reports on M. phaseolina, its biology and some control methods. Our data suggest that the attacks by M. phaseolina are more important when the cowpea plant is already weakened by high temperature and severe drought conditions. The fungi will remain present for long periods in the soil and on the seeds, which is of importance for the epidemiology of the disease. Different control methods (use of pesticides, breeding for resistance) are compared.
Ambio © 1990 Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences