Foot Rot Disease of Basmati Rice

Foot Rot Disease of Basmati Rice



Why in the News?


The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has achieved a notable accomplishment by officially registering the biocontrol agent Trichoderma asperellum 2% WP with the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC). This registration targets the control of Foot Rot or Bakane disease in Basmati rice, a long-standing issue in the area that has led to substantial losses for farmers and jeopardized the state’s export potential.


What is Foot Rot Disease of Rice?


  • Foot rot or bakanae disease represents a severe fungal infection that targets Basmati rice cultivation, resulting in notable reductions in yield and compromising the quality of grains. 
  • Under field conditions, Bakanae disease has the potential to lead to a substantial reduction in Basmati rice yield, reaching up to 70%. This issue has become a significant worry for Basmati rice cultivation in India, particularly for the widely grown Pusa Basmati 1121 variety, which accounts for more than 65% of the Basmati-growing area.


Symptoms in crops

  • Infected seedlings appear elongated and taller compared to healthy plants, featuring pale yellowish leaves.
  • Surviving seedlings often display increased height and a wider flag leaf angle during the field stage, ultimately succumbing before grain formation.
  • Symptoms in underground parts involve rotting and blackening of roots, along with the emergence of adventitious roots.


Transmission of Disease 

  • Seed Transmission: The primary mode of transmission for Bakanae disease is through contaminated seeds from the preceding growing season. Infected seeds carry the pathogen into fresh fields, initiating disease development in subsequent crop cycles.
  • Soil Transmission: Fusarium fujikuroi, the causative agent of Bakanae disease, can endure in overwintering plant remains or soil, acting as a reservoir of infection for new rice plants. Soil-borne pathogens contribute to the dissemination of the disease within agricultural fields.



Contemporary management strategies 

  • Contemporary strategies for managing bakanae disease in Basmati rice cultivation involve multiple approaches, such as treating seeds with fungicides, employing biocontrol agents, and implementing integrated management tactics that encompass seed and seedling treatment, as well as foliar sprays. 
  • These methods are designed to curtail disease dissemination, lessen its impact, and promote the sustainable production of high-quality rice grains.
  • Furthermore, the utilization of antagonistic bacteria, biological control agents like Trichoderma-S7, and the assessment of resistant rice varieties are pivotal in the management of bakanae disease.
  • Effective management of the nursery phase is essential, with specialists advising the planting of seeds in the initial two weeks of June and transplantation in July to circumvent the disease’s peak occurrence during hot months such as May.


New Solution by Punjab Agriculture university

  • The innovation by PAU in utilizing Trichoderma asperellum marks a substantial progress in addressing foot rot. This biocontrol agent has received registration from the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC), guaranteeing its effectiveness and safety. 
  • Trichoderma asperellum is environmentally friendly, emphasizing its contribution as a non-chemical substitute to conventional pesticides, thereby reducing environmental impact.


Impact of Foot Rot Disease

Environmental impact:

  • Chemical Usage: Disease control frequently relies on fungicides such as carbendazim, which may leave behind detrimental residues and have adverse repercussions on soil health and biodiversity, thereby impacting the overall ecosystem.
  • Soil Health: The presence of the foot rot pathogen in soil can instigate soil-borne diseases, jeopardizing soil health and potentially diminishing its fertility and productivity over time.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Dependence on chemical interventions for disease management can present obstacles to environmental sustainability.

Economic Impacts:

  • Foot rot disease in Basmati rice cultivation can exert a substantial influence on the export of Basmati rice. It can cause diminished yields and compromise the quality of rice grains, potentially resulting in reduced availability of high-quality Basmati rice for export. 
  • This decline in both yield and quality attributable to foot rot disease can directly impede the export potential of Basmati rice, as it may result in a decrease in the volume of rice meeting the stringent quality criteria necessary for export markets.
  • India holds the top position as the primary exporter of Basmati Rice worldwide. In the fiscal year 2022-23, the country exported 4558972.23 metric tons of Basmati Rice, valued at Rs. 38524.11 Crores (or 4787.50 million US dollars). 
  • Major export destinations during this period included Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen Republic.
  • Basmati Rice is predominantly cultivated in several states across India, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand, and western Uttar Pradesh.


How does  Trichoderma asperellum  hold Significance?

  • Strategic Significance: This advancement holds strategic importance for Punjab and Haryana, the primary Basmati rice-producing states in India, by offering an eco-friendly alternative to conventional pesticides while mitigating environmental damage.
  • Potential for Extensive Adoption: The introduction of Trichoderma asperellum has received approval from the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC), ensuring its effectiveness and safety. Moreover, an agreement between PAU and a private firm for large-scale production and distribution of Trichoderma asperellum aims to make it easily accessible to farmers in Punjab and beyond, starting from the upcoming growing season.
  • Holistic Management: The biocontrol agent presents a comprehensive approach to combating foot rot disease, encompassing seed and seedling treatments. This approach empowers farmers to effectively manage the disease and minimize crop losses.
  • Future Prospects: The introduction of Trichoderma asperellum opens up new avenues for research and development in the realm of biocontrol agents, potentially paving the way for more innovative and sustainable solutions in crop disease management.


Download plutus ias current affairs eng med 11th May 2024


Prelims Based Question

Q1. Consider the following statements regarding Foot Rot disease of Rice:

  1. Foot Rot disease is a Fungal disease that affects the root of the crops.
  2. India is the largest exporter of Basmati Rice worldwide.

Choose the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a). 1 Only

(b). 2 Only

(c). Both 1 and 2

(d). Neither 1 nor 2





Mains Based Question


Q1. How does the prevalence of foot rot disease in Basmati rice cultivation impact India’s position as the leading exporter of Basmati Rice? What are the potential economic consequences of reduced yield and quality due to foot rot disease on India’s export potential in the global market?


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