Plant Pathology Division mainly focus on all aspects of tea diseases and their management strategies in order to minimize crop loses while ensuring the cleanliness of tea by minimal use of chemicals for the control of diseases. Therefore, Integrated Disease Management (IDM) approaches are tested for all major disease occurrences.
In addition to research activities, the Division renders disease diagnostic services for tea cultivations and microbial testing services for tea factories.
Key Research Areas
- Development of accurate and rapid disease diagnostic & screening methods
- Identification of biological, cultural and chemical control strategies for the incorporation to integrated disease management strategies
- Recommendation of a copper fungicide (Perenox) against control of blister blight causal agent, Exobasidium vexans (1946) along with the description of life cycle of E. vexans (1949).
- Recommendations of control measures against ‘Poria’ disease tea plantations (1947)
- Development of a Knapsack sprayer for the control of blister blight (1951)
- Recommendation of three systemic fungicides (bitertanol, tridermorph, propiconazole) for the control of blister blight (1984)
- Development of a bio formulation of Trichoderma harzianum for the control of Poria root disease (2008) and T. asperellum, T. hamatum & Pseudomonas fluorescence to manage Poria, black and brown root diseases (2019).
- Molecular characterization of canker causing fungi in Low country and identification of Botryosphaeria mamane, B. dothidea, Fusarium solani, as new causal of agents & development of species specific primers for diagnosis (2010).
- Developed & validated accurate and precise blister blight disease assessment key based on disease severity (2014) & screening 5000 series accessions for disease resistance in Up country (2014) and Uva (2018).
- Identified the collar canker associated dieback is caused by Fusarium solani and devised control strategies (2014).
- Identification of Botryosphaeriaceae fungi as the primary cause of dieback of Grevillea shade trees in Uva region (2016)
- Completed bioefficacy and residue trials for granular and liquid copper formulations with lower copper content (20-37.5% metallic copper) & recommendation of Champ DP to manage Blister blight disease (2016-2019).
- By spectroradiometer NIR 740 – 1000 nm was identified as sensitive to Blister blight for detection and estimation in tea canopies with the view of developing remote sensing technique (2019).