Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Sweetpotato black rot (232)

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  • Worldwide distribution. In tropical, sub-tropical and temperate countries. A wound fungus with many hosts, coffee, cocoa, mango, pineapple, sugarcane, taro. Many strains.
  • Spots on the storage roots, and on the stems below ground. Survives as spores in the soil, and as fungus in roots.
  • Spread in wind and also by insects – has fruity smell, and spores are sticky. Beetles take spores to wounds.
  • Cultural control: if using a nursey to raise cuttings, site nursery on 'new' land; start with 'clean' tip cuttings for planting; avoid wounding storage roots; at harvest, collect trash and burn; avoid (i) packaging and storing crops with signs of the rot, (ii) or storing roots when they are wet; 3-4-year rotations.
  • Chemical control: dip storage roots in thiabendizole.
Common Name

Black rot

Scientific Name

Ceratocystis fimbriata; the asexual state is Chalara species.

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Information from Amante V, et al. (2003). A field guide to the sweetpotato problems in the Philippines. The University of Queensland (; and O'Sullivan J et al . Sweetpotato DiagNotes: A diagnostic key and information tool for sweetpotato problems. (; and from Nelson SC (undated) Black rot of sweet potato: disease cycle and management. CTAHR, Hawaii. ([2].pdf). Photo 1 Gerald Holmes, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, Photo 2 Charles Averre,  North Carolina State University. Photo 3 Compendium of SweetPotato Diseases (1988). American Phytopathological Society.

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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