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Chili pepper diseases and their visual identification

Chili pepper diseases and their symptoms

It is the constant search for a more efficient and profitable method of elevating the productivity of our fields which drives advancements in agriculture. One method that has rapidly started to overtake the older raffia support system is the newer trellis netting system. The use of trellis netting to support crops has given agriculturists a great competitive advantage when they sell to both domestic and international markets. One part of this advantage comes from the fact that crop netting is much easier and less labor intensive compared to raffia. One of the other advantages that can be seen when using crop support net is the reduction of contagious chili pepper diseases, reducing the amount of money that needs to be invested on certain agrochemicals. For these and several other reasons, more agriculturists, both large and small producers, are switching over to use plant support netting, elevating the productivity of their fields and increasing their profits. All of this with the implementation of a simple and easy to install system.

Importance of chili pepper in Mexico

Small chilies
The prevention of chili pepper diseases is possible thanks to the use of HORTOMALLAS® trellis netting.

After the tortilla, the chili pepper is most likely the second most important ingredient in the Mexican kitchen, giving Mexican food its characteristic taste and spiciness both directly, and in the sauces that can be added optionally to the food, making it a very important part of Mexican culture.

The estimation for the annual production of capsicum peppers is in the area of 3 million hectares. Mexico is currently at the forefront of this worldwide production, with more than 2,294,400 tons worth of green chili peppers grown in 2013. That represents roughly 32% of the entire world’s production of chili peppers, which is then exported to countries such as the United States, Japan, Canada, Great Britain, and Germany.

Trellis netting and its benefits against chili pepper diseases.

Independent of where the chili pepper is being grown, agriculturists need to identify and control a host of serious chili pepper diseases and plagues that affect the productivity and health of their crops. In an ideal situation, the agriculturist would use a combination strategy that not only incorporates good growing practices to break the life cycle of several of the most common chili pepper diseases, but would also use agrochemicals to help stop the diseases from getting a foothold in their crops. The focus of the agriculturist should always be primarily aimed at the prevention of the chili pepper diseases, as that is significantly easier than treating a field that has already been infected.

Due to this, the implementation of a simple practice that improves the performance of the growing crops is of great interest to agriculturists.

One of these simple agricultural practices to improve the yield of a field is to use crop support netting to tutor your crops. This type of support system is utilizable on a wide selection of crops and legumes, and is a replacement of the traditional raffia tutoring system and the obsolete ground cultivation. Both of those methods are an older, less efficient method of growing your crops which additionally propagate the contagion of several diseases to chili peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

It should also be noted that the installation of crop support netting is very easy, normally only requiring 2 workers to install one hectares worth of netting in one and a half days. Additionally, this trellis netting makes the application of agrochemicals, such as fertilizers and plaguicides, much more efficient for your workers, as well as facilitating the harvest of the crops.

Another characteristic that makes trellis netting one of the best options that you can provide to your crops, is the reduced manual labor needed to maintain the system once it has been set up. This reduction of manual labor not only saves you money from the reduction of labor, but also drastically lowers the transmission of disease from one plant to the next due to the mechanical transmission of your workers hands and tools. This type of transmission is a very common vector method utilized by fungi, virus, and bacteria to transfer themselves from plant to plant. Another benefit of using crop support netting in comparison to a raffia twine system, is that it helps us avoid the 18% performance loss that is usually associated with using raffia. This loss when using raffia has been proven is several independent studies, and is caused by the stress that physically manipulating the plants causes.

Identification of Chili Pepper Diseases

The following is a brief example of some of the various chili pepper diseases that are avoidable by using trellis netting.

Bacterial Spot – Xanthomonas campestris pv. Vesicatoria

Xanthomonas campestris
Bacterial Spot can be transmitted by the seed of the crop, and is normally propagated by rain, irrigation water, wind, and various other methods. It is predominant in warm and humid areas.
  • Symptoms appear 15 days after contagion
  • Semi translucent spots start to appear on the underside of the leaf with a yellow halo
  • Severely affected leaves can fall off the plant
  • Black or brownish lumps will form on the stem
  • Transplanted plants that are infected will normally lose all of their leaves except the most upper ones.

Pepper AnthracnoseCollectotrichum spp. (Colletotrichum capsici, C. gloeosporiodes)

Colletotrichum on Jalapeno
When chilies become infected the symptoms appear 15 days later.
  • Greater incidence of contagion on rainy days or with excessive irrigation
  • Immature fruit is the most affected
  • The disease deteriorates the quality of the fruit, showing symptoms after harvest
  • Circular spots on the fruit that at first look like watery bruises will expand rapidly
  • Deep wounds of a dark red to bronze or black color will form
  • Advanced infections will show salmon pink spores and concentric rings

Grey MoldBotrytis cinerea
White MoldSclerotinia sclerotiorum

Botrytis cinerea
there is a greater risk of contagion if there are rainy seasons or if the plant is irrigated excessively.

B. cinerea

  • High humidity and temperatures between 18C and 20C favors its growth
  • Enters the plant through wounds
  • Causes wounds at or below ground level will become white and will develop a sore

This disease is spread through spores that live in the dead tissue of previous crops

Sclerotinia sclerotiorum
If you notice a white mold on your plants it means that your plant is infected.

S. scierotiorum

  • Polyphagic fungi that attacks the majority of crops
  • Capable of damping-off plants
  • Starts with ground spores which will proceed to infect the plant
  • They develop when ambient conditions are at a high humidity concentration
  • This disease shows up as an odorless, aqueous, white mold. It will eventually dry out after having infected and covered the vast majority of the affected tissue with its white mycelium.
  • High humidity and temperatures between 18 °C and 20 °C favor its growth

Pepper blightPhytophthora capsici

Phytophthora capsici
After presenting as a white mucus after the plant began to dry.
  • This fungal infection originates in the soil
  • The symptoms of this disease can easily be confused with radial asphyxiation
  • High humidity favors its development
  • Mostly affects the root, causing the plant to not be able to absorb water and nutrients
  • The plant will start to wither irreversibly, without prior signs such as yellowing
  • The roots will produce a mold that appear near chancres near the base

Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Tobacco Mosaic Virus
If the temperature is between 18 C or 20 C along with adequate humidity, the growth of the plant will be favored.
  • The most common and widespread plant virus in the world
  • Infects numerous species that belong to the Solanaceae family
  • Persists and is continuously infectious during repose years of crops
  • The primary method of contagion is through mechanical transmission, using the field workers
  • Can also be transmitted by other vectors, such as insects, nematodes, and fungi.

The most common symptoms in chili peppers are:

  • Yellowing in the leaf that takes on a mosaic pattern
  • Can cause deformation and even necrosis in the leaves, and will occasionally leave fruits rotting on the stems.

Due to the effects of these chili pepper diseases on crops, and because the chili pepper crop is such an important economic activity for many countries, it has become increasingly important to make the production chain as efficient as possible.

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