Distribution, Incidence and Severity of Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease in Major Maize Growing Agro-ecological Zones of Uganda

Barnabas Mudde, Florence M’mogi Olubayo, Douglas Watuku Miano, Godfrey Asea, Dora C. Kilalo, Andrew Kiggundu, Daniel K. Bomet, John Adriko


The distribution, incidence and severity of maize lethal necrosis (MLN) disease in major maize growing agro-ecological zones (AEZ) of Uganda was determined following field surveys carried out in 16 major maize growing districts from 5 AEZ over three consecutive seasons. A total of 604 maize fields were visited and MLN disease status visually assessed and 3,624 maize leaf samples collected for identification and confirmation of the MLN causal viruses by Double antibody sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (DAS-ELISA) and Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). MLN disease was not widely distributed at an epidemic proportion, with only 36 (5%) of the 604 farms surveyed over three seasons confirmed to have the disease. The MLN incidence and severity was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in the Eastern AEZ during the three seasons. The main MLN-causing viruses detected using DAS-ELISA were Maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMV) and Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV). MCMV was the most prevalent MLN causing virus driving the epidemic in Uganda. The three major districts where MLN disease has been found in all three seasons surveyed are Bulambuli, Tororo and Busia which are hotspots for MLN disease. Strategies to control spread of MLN disease should focus on high risk AEZs and hotspot districts.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/jas.v10n6p72

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Journal of Agricultural Science   ISSN 1916-9752 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9760 (Online)  E-mail: jas@ccsenet.org

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