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Wilt disease complex of Betelvine

R. Renuka1, B. Parameswari2 and M. L. Chhabra3


Assistant Professor, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru College of Agriculture &

Research Institute, Puducherry.


Scientist, Sugarcane Breeding Institute Regional Centre, Karnal.

Senior Scientist, , Sugarcane Breeding Institute Regional Centre, Karnal.

Betelvine (Piper betle) leaves are aromatic, carminative, antiseptic,

astringent, madly stimulant, expectorant and exhalent in nature. They are also
known to be rich in vitamins A, and C, 21 essential oils, alkaloids, arecolin, etc.
Besides, betelvine is supposed to act tonic for brain, liver and heart. It clears
mouth and throat and helps in digestion by encouraging salivation and neutralizing
the excess of acid by lime which is eaten with it. Essential oils of betelvine are
also important in medicines and pan masala industry. The market price of essential
oils is Rs. 25,000-80,000 per litre.
The betelvine thrives best under tropical forest conditions having a cool
shade, considerable humidity and a good supply of moisture. It flourishes in areas
with an annual rainfall of 225-475 cm. Geographically, it belongs to the region
bounded by 68 E to 118 W longitudes and 30 N to 12 S latitudes. It is grown from
sea level to an altitude of about 900 meters in the Western Ghats.
Though the crop is highly remunerative, the area under its cultivation has
either remained content or is diminishing due to pathogenic fungal, bacterial and
nematode parasites besides insect. Pests, shade, cool conditions, high soil moisture
and abundant use of fertilizers are also congenial for development and building up
of high inoculums potential of various soil borne pathogens.
Soil and root samples collected from various locations in India have
revealed the presence of nematodes like Meloidogyne incognita, Rotylenchulus
reniformis and Hoplolaimus indicus in states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam,

Maharashtra, and Orissa, Radopholus similis in Karnataka: Pratylenchus coffeae,






brachyurum and Hemicycliophora penetrans in Tamil Nadu have been reported.

So far, 39 species within 15 genera of plant parasitic nematodes have been
reported to be in association with betelvine crop from many parts of the country.
However, most of these nematodes are not known as pathogens of betelvine and
their relationship with the host plant still remains to be established. Among the
different nemic diseases of betelvine at present, the root knot disease caused by M.
incognita seems to be a major problem prevalent in most of the plantations having
sandy loam soil, at times causing heavy loss to the farmers. The avoidable yield
losses due to M. incognita are estimated to be 38 per cent in Tamil Nadu.
Plant parasitic nematodes interact with different groups of plant pathogens,
viz. fungi, bacteria, viruses and other nematodes. However of all the interactions
of pathogens with nematodes, none is more damaging to the crops worldwide as
the combined effects of wilt causing fungi and plant parasitic nematodes.. To
obtain optimum crop quality and economic, it is essential to be aware of the array
of organisms influencing the crop and the nature of various organismic
The roots of nematode- infested vines are also found to be affected with
other soil borne plant pathogenic fungi, viz. Sclerotium rolfsii, Colletotrichum
capsici, Phytophthora palmivora, Rhizoctonia solani and Fusarium solani and the
bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. Betlicola. The higher density of nematodes
especially, M. incognita and R. reniformis predispose the betel roots for the entry
of soil borne plant pathogens, which may lead to the wilt syndrome.
Considering the heavy economic loss the nematode and fungus cause on
betelvine, many attempts have been made for its control. These include cultural,

physical, chemical, biological, host resistance, use of organic amendments and

integrated methods. Of all the available methods, the most extensively tried and
effective method is chemical control. Although chemicals are effective, plant
protection in the betelvine gardens, as a whole is difficult proposition because of
the fact that the produce is a green leaf consumed when fresh, and harvested at
very short intervals (a week to 15 days) which does not permit use of toxic
chemicals. The situation emphasizes the reduced use of chemicals for checking
disease of betelvine.
In recent years, the increasing use of potentially hazardous fungicides and
nematicides in agriculture has been the subject of growing concern for both
environmentalists and public health authorities. The possibilities of controlling
plant diseases by the integration of several methods have been the subject of
extensive research. An integrated control which denotes the rational use of all
available control measures will have to be considered, especially with a crop
which is infected simultaneously by various types of pathogens. It does offer the
possibility of making-up for the deficiencies of any single method. Integration of
chemical and biotic agents for managing soil-borne diseases has been considered
as a novel approach, as it requires low amounts of chemicals, thereby reducing the
cost of management as well as pollution hazards, with minimum interference to
biological equilibrium. However, the development of field technology for efficient
and reliable integrated management of soil-borne plant pathogens is lagging
behind. So, there is need to develop an eco-friendly, economical and alternative
method for effective management of wilt-disease complex of betelvine.

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