The common diseases in turmeric are
Rhizome and root rot
Pythium aphanidermatum P. graminicolum
All stages of crop
Leaf blotch or Taphrina leaf spot
2-3 months after planting
Colletotrichum leaf spot
2-4 months after planting
Rhizome maturation stage
Brown rot (Nematode - fungal complex)
Pratylenchus sp. & Fusarium sp.
All stages of crop
All stages of crop
All stages of crop
- Turmeric is mainly infected by three rhizome
diseases viz., rhizome and root rot, dry rot and brown rot
and four foliar diseases viz., leaf blotch, Colletotrichum
leaf spot, Cercospora leaf spot and leaf blight.
- Rhizome and root rot and foliar diseases of
turmeric are very important because they affect the yield of
Rhizome and root
Association of Pythium sp. and Fusarium sp.
- This is an important disease prevalent in all
turmeric growing areas.
- Both C. domestica and C. aromatica
are affected by rhizome and root rot disease.
- The disease was first reported from South
India viz., Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh,
Tiruchirappalli and Coimbatore of Tamil Nadu .
- Losses to the tune of 50 per cent and above
have been reported in some parts of Telengana and farmers resort to
distress harvest to salvage the remaining crop once the disease
- The infected plants show yellowing of leaves
starting from lower leaves which gradually spread to the upper
regions of the plant.
- The margins of the yellowing leaves turn
necrotic and start drying from the margins inwards resulting in
partial or complete blighting of leaves.
- Water soaked dark brown lesions appear on the
pseudostems at the base which enlarge rapidly resulting in drying
- The affected pseudostems break away with a
pull and the affected tillers topple off.
- The affected plants show varying degrees of
- The infection spreads from roots to rhizome
causing soft rot (affected rhizome becoming soft to touch).
- Infection is also noticed from tips of
rhizomes spreading inwards.
- The affected rhizomes show varying degrees of
brown shades in contrast to the bright orange yellow colour of
- In advanced stages, the rotten rhizomes emit
- Turmeric is grown as pure and also as an
intercrop along with maize, redgram and chillies.
- The disease is soil borne and seed borne, and
occurs at random and spreads contiguously to adjacent clumps.
- Irrigation water from diseased fields also
helps in the spread of the disease.
- In artificial inoculation studies, P.
graminicolum could induce root rot in a week and death of two
months old plants within 18 days.
- The fungus has been found to grow over wide
range of pH (3.0 to 9.0) and the best growth is obtained between pH
7.0 and 8.0. Oospores production is maximum between pH 6.0 and 9.0.
- The fungus was also found to be pathogenic to
seedlings of sorghum, maize, barley, oats, arrow root and cotton and
could not infect ginger.
- Where it is intercropped with maize, the
symptom expression would be sudden immediately after the maize
Role of associated organisms
- Association of maggots of M. coeruleifrons
with disease affected rhizomes was noticed to varying degrees.
- Root knot infestation (M. incognita) in
turmeric was noticed where rhizome and root rot incidence is severe.
- Selection of healthy seed from disease free
- In endemic areas, rotation of crops using
- Removal and burning of the infected clumps
from the field.
- The survival of the fungus was affected by
application of urea (5 kg/ha) to the infested soil. Urea did have
depressive effect on the fungal growth.
- The turmeric varieties viz., PCT 13 and
PCT 14 were free from the disease.
- Seed dip in metalaxyl 8 + mancozeb 72 (Ridomil
MZ) at 2.5 g lit for 40 minutes and soil drenching (0.1 g/lit) not
only controlled rhizome rot disease but also increased the rhizome
- In the field immediately after seeing the
initial symptoms of the disease. drenching the soil in root region
with any one of the following has to be taken up.
- Mancozeb (75 WP) - 1500 g/ha
- Captan (50 WP) - 1000 g/ha
- Copper oxychloride (50 WP) - 1250 g/ha
- Bordeaux mixture - 5000 g/ha
Causal organism : Rhizoctonia bataticola.
- The disease causes root rot and rhizome rot
resulting in typical dry rot of rhizomes from October onwards.
- The affected rhizomes appear soft and shrunken
to start with, later dry up and become hard.
- Foliar yellowing and drying up of foliage
which are the normal symptoms of maturity of the crop during October
- November would be indistinguishable from the symptoms of the
disease affected clumps.
- When infected rhizomes are cut open, the
infected zones typically appear as dull brown and dark.
- The disease is becoming increasingly important
Causal organism : Rhizoctonia solani (Syn:
- It is wide spread and appears every year in
North Eastern States of India.
- The disease manifests itself as water soaked
spots of varying size and shape on the lower leaves and these
gradually increase in size during warm and humid climate, as a
result of which, a large leaf portion or the entire leaf may get
- The blighted leaf area is divided into well
developed sectors, a characteristic symptom by which the disease can
be diagnosed easily.
- In moist weather, the fungal growth appears on
the undersurface of the leaves on water soaked diseased portions.
- The disease ultimately leads to death of the
Collectotrichum leaf spot
Causal organism : Colletotrichum capsici
Syn: Vermicularia curcumae
- The disease is more destructive and prevalent
in majority of turmeric growing areas of Tamil Nadu viz.,
Coimbatore, Vellore, Thiruvannamalai, Salem and Trichy districts.
- This was first recorded in Coimbatore district
of east while Madras State in 1917.
- When the infection is severe resulting in
drying up of the whole foliage, losses would exceed 50 per cent.
- Reduction in the dry rhizome weight by 62.7
per cent was also reported due to foliar infection.
- Infection is confined usually to leaf blades
and occasionally extends to leaf sheath also.
- Leaf spots elliptic to oblong of various sizes
enlarge into 4-5 cm and 3 cm wide occupying the major portion of
- The mature spot appears greyish white at
centre with a brown margin surrounded by a yellowish halo, which is
responsible for the production of toxin.
- Endotoxin produced has been found to play a
definite role in symptom expression.
- The whitish centre with dark acervuli often
becomes papery and gets torn off.
- Sometimes spots are found on leaf sheaths.
- The rhizomes are also affected and black
stroma appears on the scales covering the rhizomes.
- The disease spreads by air borne conidia. The
pathogen persists through infected rhizomes and other plant debris
left in the soil.
- The disease generally appears in August -
September when the crop is about 4-5 months old.
- Infection is evident when the humid condition
- The disease starts in the younger leaves and
spreads to the other leaves.
- The younger leaves were more susceptible than
older leaves, which was attributed to loss of carbohydrates and
phenol and more of total nitrogen in younger leaves compared to
- The time of planting influenced the onset and
severity of the disease. The crop sown between 12th June and 17th
July under Coimbatore condition showed severe disease incidence.
- Late planting during July-August also recorded
severe disease incidence.
- Weather factors in relation to disease
incidence showed a positive correlation of total rainfall to disease
incidence at 90 days crop growth phase.
- At 120 days, there was positive correlation
between relative humidity and disease incidence.
- The fungus could infect Aristolochia
bracteata, seedlings of Gossypium herbaceum, chick pea,
pigeon pea, cluster beans, jowar, ginger, papaya, brinjal fruit,
chillies and Whitiana sominifera.
- The disease spread is mainly during wet
- C. curcumae was found to survive in the
field and laboratory for about 9 and 12 months respectively, which
could be potential source of primary inoculum.
- The variety, Sugantham was found to be highly
- Potash application reduced the disease
incidence. Higher dose of potash at 70 and 120 kg/ha reduced the
disease, the disease incidence was 21.8 and 18.6 per cent,
respectively compared to 46.3 per cent in control.
- Incidence is less if the rhizomes are planted
in May - June.
- Spraying the crop with Bordeaux mixture (5
kg/ha) during August and Mancozeb (1 kg/ha) at monthly intervals
during September - December checked the disease.
- Edifenphos (1 ml/lit) with 5 rounds of spray
at 15 days intervals starting from 15th June to 15th September
reduced the disease caused by C.curcumae effectively.
- Spraying twice at initiation and 15 days later
with Carbendazim (500 g/ha) or copper oxychloride (1250 g/ha)
controlled the leaf spot.
- Next to rhizome rot, foliar diseases are
economically important, since the loss of active photosynthetic area
of the leaves affects the rhizome yield considerably.
Leaf blotch (Taphrina leaf spot)
Causal organism - Taphrina maculans
- The disease is widely distributed in the
Southern States and the Gangetic Plains in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
- This disease was first reported from Gujarat,
Saharanpur (UP) and Rangpur (East Pakistan) in 1911.
- The foliar destruction, it causes, would
reduce the yields considerably especially when the disease starts in
its early stages of crop growth.
- The disease starts as small scattered oily
looking translucent spots on the lower leaves when the plants are in
3 to 4 leaf stage.
- The leaf spots later turn dirty yellow and
deepen to the colour of gold and sometimes to hay shade.
- The adjacent individual leaf spots of 1-2 mm
in diameter coalesce forming reddish brown blotches leading to
varying degrees of leaf blight.
- Owing to excessive spotting and destruction of
chloroplasts, the functional laminal surface is considerably reduced
resulting in indirect bad effect on the productivity of the plant.
- The pathogen infects most of the leaves
leaving 2-3 leaves at the top.
- The disease incidence is influenced by soil
borne inoculum and prevailing weather condition.
- The dried leaves having spots and lying in the
field may function as chief source of primary inoculum.
- Moist cloudy weather with temperature of
25-30oC during August - September was found condusive for the
- The primary infection occurs on the lower
leaves during October - November when the temperature of 21 - 23oC
and relative humidity of 80 per cent prevail.
- Young leaves, two weeks after unfurling remain
susceptible for about a month and susceptibility gradually decreases
- They remain susceptible considerably for a
longer period irrespective of their age provided environmental
conditions and inoculum are at optimum level.
- The secondary infection is by ascospores
discharged from successively maturing asci which grow into
octosporous microcolonies and infect fresh leaves without any
- The primary infections are less harmful than
the secondary infection inciting profuse spotting covering a large
- The disease perpetuates from one season to
other through viable ascogenous cells borne on the infected leaf
debris in the fields after harvest as well as through desiccated
ascospores and blastospores ejected from mature asci during the crop
season and over-summaring in the soil and leaf trash.
- T. maculans has been reported to infect
- C. amada
- C. angustifolia
- Zingiber cassumunuar
- Z. zerumbet and
- Hedychium sp.
- Field sanitation should be practiced.
- Crop rotation becomes important to reduce the
inoculum build up.
- Aureofungin, antifungal antibiotic at 2.5 g/ml
was highly inhibitory to the growth of T. maculans.
- To reduce the spread of the disease, spray at
20 days interval with any one of the following.
- Bordeaux mixture 5000 g/ha
- Copper oxychloride (50 WP) 1250 g/ha
- Zineb (75 WP) 500 g/ha
- Mancozeb (75 WP) 1000 g/ha
- The storage rot of turmeric is caused by
- Sclerotium rolfsii
- Aspergillus flavus
- A. niger
- A. tamari
- Cladosporium cladosporiods
- Cephalosporium acremonium
- Dlreschlera tetramera
- Fusarium culmorum
- F. nivale
- F. oxysporum
- Macrophomina phaseolina
- Rhizoctonia bataticola
- Seed treatment with Emison (1 g/lit) checked
the rot of seed rhizomes and ensured better germination.
- It is a complex disease caused by the
nematode, Pratylenchus sp. associated with a fungus,
- This was first reported from Kerala in C.
aromatica and was noticed in freshly harvested rhizomes
indicating its natural occurrence during the crop season.
- The disease affected plants were stunted with
poor root development.
- The infected rhizomes appear dull coloured,
later become deep grey to dark brown, less turgid, light and
wrinkled exhibiting dry rot symptoms.
- The necrotic lesions in the rhizome start from
margins and progress inwards involving a major portion of rhizome.
- Infection is initiated in the fields during
harvest and later leads to spoilage in storage.
- The fungus is able to penetrate and establish
infection through intact host tissues.
Root knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita
- The earliest record of nematode infestation on
turmeric was that of root gall nematode by Ayyar (1926) in South
- Affected plants show stunted growth,
yellowing, marginal and tip drying of leaves, reduced tillering and
galling and rotting on roots.
- High densities of M. incognita cause
yellowing and severe stunting and withering in large patches.
- Plants die prematurely leaving a poor crop
stand at harvest.
- Infested rhizomes tend to lose their bright
An initial inoculum level of 1,00,000 nematodes/plant caused 76.6
per cent reduction in rhizome weight under pot conditions.
Avoidable yield loss under field conditions was 45.3 per cent.
Use of resistant turmeric varieties like Kodur, Cheyapasupu, Armoor,
Duggirala, Guntur 1, Guntur 9, Rajampet, Sugandham and Appalapadu.
Soil application of Aldicarb 10 G (10 kg/ha) two times at 3rd and
5th months after planting followed by irrigation.
Aldicarb 10 G (10 kg/ha) and Carbofuran 3 G (33.3 kg/ha) effectively
controlled the root knot nematodes and increased the yield by 71 and
68 per cent respectively.
The infested plants show a tendency to ageing and dry faster than
Infested rhizomes are of yolk yellow colour compared with the golden
yellow colour of healthy rhizomes and have shallow water soaked
brownish areas on the surface.
Roots show rotting and most of the decayed roots are devoid of
cortex and stelar portion.
The scale leaves of rhizomes harbour R. similis.
An initial inoculum level of 10 nematodes/plant can cause a
reduction of 35 per cent of rhizome weight after four months and 46
per cent at the end of the season.
With 1,00,000 nematodes, the extent of reduction in rhizome weight
is 65 and 76 per cent after 4 and 8 months respectively.
Application of Aldicarb 10 G (10 kg/ha) or Carbufuran 3 G (33.3
kg/ha) controls the nematode infestation.
Lesion nematode, Pratylenchus coffeae
It causes discolouration and rotting of rhizomes of C. aromatica.
In advanced stages of infection, the rhizomes become deep red to
dark brown in colour, less turgid, and wrinkled with dry rot
The fingers are more severely affected than the mother rhizomes,
internally the affected rhizomes show dark brown necrotic lesions.
Among the many species of plant parasitic nematodes reported on
turmeric, Meloidogyne spp., Radopholus similis and
Pratylenchus coffeae are of economic importance.
Survey of turmeric fields in Coimbatore and Erode districts revealed
the presence of following plant parasic nematodes associated with
- Medoidogyne incognita
- Longidorus elongatus
- Xiphinema elongatum
- Hoplolaimus seinharstii
- Helicotylenchus multicinctus
- Tylenchorhynchus martini
- Pratylenchus delaltrei
- Radopholus similis
- Rotylenchulus renifornis
Under Vellore conditions, CO 1 turmeric grown after banana or
solanaceous vegetables was affected severely by nematodes. So,
planting turmeric after banana or solanaceous vegetables should be