Accepted 3rd December, 2016
Investigations were undertaken to establish the seed health status of food crops cultivated in Sierra Leone with emphasis on seed Mycoflora. Rice (paddy), sorghum, maize, fundi, cowpea, pigeon pea and pepper were collected in the Magbema Chiefdom of Kambia District, Northwestern Sierra Leone. The seed Mycoflora were studied using standard blotter method. Observations revealed that samples were infected with several fungi with Mycoflora prevalence varying with respect to the crop. Ten fungal species were found on rice seeds with Alternaria padwickii, Bipolaris oryzae and Microdochium oryzae being the predominant types. Infection on fundi (Digitaria) and maize were generally below 10% with major pathogens being Gloeocercospora sorghi, Phoma sorghina and Phomopsis sp. for fundi and Acremonium strictum, Botrydiplodia theobromae and Fusarium verticilloides for maize. Sorghum, cowpea and pigeon pea were least affected by seed Mycoflora with infection levels being below 5%. Seed Mycoflora infection was highest in groundnut (60% Aspergillus flavus, 49% A. niger and 21% Botrydiplodia theobromae amongst others). In pepper, predominant Mycoflora on seeds were of the genus Fusarium (F. pallidoroseum 23%, F. subglutinans 19%, and F. oxysporum 15%). The study highlights the importance of seed health at producers’ level in the management of crop diseases.
Keywords: Mycoflora, seed health, crop diseases, food crops, infection levels