Learning the ropes of downy mildew screening in Niger

Learning the ropes of downy mildew screening in Niger

Issa Karimou scoring DM infection on pearl millet seedling.

Building on materials developed previously for comparable training programs by the pathology team at Patancheru, a three-day training course on pearl millet greenhouse downy mildew screening protocol was conducted under the umbrella of the ICRISAT-HOPE Project at Sadoré on 21-23 September. Participants from national pearl millet research programs in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria were joined by a PhD student from Nigeria for the tri-lingual course (English, French and Haussa) led by ICRISAT’s Tom Hash and Harouna Dodo.

 The course introduced the use of the recently established greenhouse downy mildew screening facility at Sadoré. Participants received hands-on training in all aspects of the screening protocol except initial establishment of the pathogen isolates – from preparation of the potting mixture and sowing of test entries to ensure rapid germination and uniform seedling emergence, through production of inoculum, inoculation of the pot-grown seedlings, scoring of disease incidence, statistical analysis, and interpretation of screening results.

 Participants found the protocol to be an interesting complement to conventional field screening for resistance. Several components of the protocol were identified that can be adapted to improve the effectiveness of field-screening even before the physical facilities required for full implementation of the greenhouse screen are available.