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Evaluation of Pigeonpea Accessions and Selected Lines for Reaction to Maruca


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 42 No. 2, p. 615-618
    Received: Jan 29, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): K.SAXENA@CGIAR.ORG
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  1. K. B. Saxena *a,
  2. G. D. S. N. Chandrasenab,
  3. K. Hettiarachchib,
  4. Y. B. Iqbalb,
  5. H. H. D. Fonsekab and
  6. S. J. B. A. Jayasekerab
  1. a International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Patancheru 502 324, Andhra Pradesh, India
    b Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Wayamba Univ., Makandura, Gonawilla, Sri Lanka


Maruca vitrata (Geyer) is a serious insect pest of tropical legumes. In Sri Lanka, yield losses due to Maruca damage in pigeonpea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.] range up to 100%. The development of resistant cultivars and germplasm is one of the best means of control. The objectives of this study were to screen 271 accessions for resistance to M. vitrata and evaluate reaction of lines selected from the promising accessions. The high level of natural incidence of Maruca in Sri Lanka provided an opportunity for evaluation of germplasm at Field Crops Research and Development Institute, Maha Illuppallama. Screening of the germplasm accessions revealed large variation in Maruca damage to flowers and pods. On average, the Maruca damage in determinate accessions (66–75%) was higher than that of nondeterminate accessions (41–50%). Resistant plants from four determinate and 12 nondeterminate accessions were selected. Further selection for resistance to Maruca damage among and within lines derived from the resistant plants was exercised for six generations under nonsprayed field conditions. Under insecticide-free conditions, the selections from two accessions showed significant yield advantages over controls. Data on pod damage and larval counts indicated that the resistance was conditioned through yield compensation mechanisms. In pigeonpea, this is the first report of the selection of Maruca resistant lines. Further studies showed that by using the resistant genotypes it is possible to reduce the number of insecticide sprays for economic yields.

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Copyright © 2002. Crop Science Society of AmericaPublished in Crop Sci.42:615–618.