Screening of varieties for resistance to false smut (Ustilaginoidea virens (Cook) Tak.) disease of rice

Twenty rice varieties were screened for resistance under wet land field conditions against false smut disease of rice caused by Ustilaginoidea virens (Cook) Tak. at two locations, during 2012-13 in Kerala, India. Observations were made on the per cent infected tillers and disease severity. The varieties were categorized on the basis of their disease reaction into five groups i.e., highly resistant, resistant, moderately resistant, susceptible and highly susceptible. Out of the twenty varieties screened, the varieties Harsha and Vaishak released from Regional Agricultural Research Station Pattambi, Palakkad were found highly resistant (completely disease-free) and the varieties, Makom, Thekkancheera, Pavizham and Karthika were found resistant (disease severity score <1%) to the disease. The varieties Kanakom, Revathi and Prathyasha showed moderate resistance. The variety Uma was found highly susceptible to the disease. Future breeding programmes for resistance against the disease can be focused on the resistant varieties Harsha, Vaishak Makom, Thekkancheera, Pavizham and Karthika.