Pythium stalk rot

Pythium aphanidermatum, Pythium spp.

Nature of damage

  • Pythium stalk rot results in lodging of the plant.
  • Plants are killed prematurely, leading to yield loss.
  • Often infection occurs prior to tasseling.


  • Usually the basal internodes become soft, water-soaked, and dark, causing lodging.
  • Damaged internodes commonly twist before the plants lodge.
  • Diseased plants can remain alive until all vascular bundles become affected.

Factors favoring development

  • High temperatures (25-35°C).
  • High crop density.
  • High levels of nitrogen fertilizer.
  • Poor water and air drainage.

Geographical distribution

  • The disease is prevalent in some hot and humid tropical and subtropical zones and in some temperate areas.

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