An important economic constraint to the growing cassava industry in the Caribbean islands is the disease caused by the fungal pathogen Sphaceloma manihoticola, synonym Elsinoë brasilensis (Bitancourt & Jenk). One hundred percent incidence has been recently observed on some farms in the Caribbean islands. The fluctuation in individual farming practices such as lack of fertilizing and irrigation schemes may play a role in the level of health and disease resistance of the plants, which in turn may affect the severity of the disease and levels of incidence. Severe elongation may be seen of the internodes in mature plants but primary symptoms include small yellow leaf spots, leaf curling, stem and petiole scab-like lesions and defoliation. The use of disease-free planting material, fungicide pre-treatment of nodal stem cuttings and germplasm maintenance of in-vitro stocks of high performing varieties is suggested. However, new molecular tools for disease diagnosis and analysis of the pathogen population dynamics are required to adequately manage the disease in the region.
Part of the book: Cassava