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Evaluation of coconut germplasm in Weligama and Matara area of the Southern Province of Sri Lanka for resistance to Weligama coconut leaf wilt disease

Authors:

S. A. C. N. Perera ,

Coconut Research Institute, Lunuwila, 61150, LK
About S. A. C. N.
Genetics and Plant Breeding Division
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H. M. N. B. Herath,

Coconut Research Institute, Lunuwila 61150, LK
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H. T. R. Wijesekera,

Coconut Research Institute, Lunuwila 61150, LK
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W. G. R. Subhathma,

Coconut Research Institute, Lunuwila 61150, LK
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W. A. T. L. Weerakkody

Coconut Research Institute, Lunuwila 61150, LK
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Abstract

Weligama Coconut Leaf Wilt Disease has been reported to infect the coconut palms in Southern Sri Lanka. Intra-cellular pathogen phytoplasma has been identified as the causal organism of this disease. So far there have been no known control methods to cure diseases caused by intra-cellular pathogens. Integration of resistant varieties into management programmes has been identified as a viable option in management strategies of such diseases. For this, it is essential to identify the resistance of available genetic resources. This study was carried out in the Weligama and Matara area of Southern Sri Lanka to screen the coconut germplasm for resistance to Weligama Coconut Leaf Wilt Disease. Infected and healthy palms were differentiated using symptomatology; flaccidity of leaves, yellowing of leaves and marginal necrosis of leaflets. Sri Lanka Tall, Sri Lanka Green and yellow dwarfs, Gon thembili tall and king coconut were among the main coconut forms studied. Out of them Sri Lanka Green Dwarf recorded a high level of resistance (98%). Within the Sri Lanka Yellow dwarf and Gon thembili tall, certain individual genotypes were observed to be resistant while king coconut was identified to be susceptible. The most popular commercial coconut variety, Sri Lanka tall was highly susceptible to the disease although there were certain individual genotypes which were resistant. Although Sri Lanka Green dwarf has not so far been viable as a commercial coconut cultivar the presence of resistant genes within the coconut germplasm was recognized as a great advantage in breeding coconuts for resistance to Weligama Coconut Leaf Wilt Disease.
How to Cite: Perera, S.A.C.N. et al., (2016). Evaluation of coconut germplasm in Weligama and Matara area of the Southern Province of Sri Lanka for resistance to Weligama coconut leaf wilt disease. COCOS. 21, pp.15–20. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cocos.v21i0.5803
Published on 19 Oct 2016.
Peer Reviewed

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