Action Against Anthracnose: Resisitant C. annuum chilli pepper introgression lines and cultivars for Bangladesh

Start date: January  2017
End date: January 2019

Chili pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) is an important commercial crop and indispensable spice food in the tropics and subtropics.

In Bangladesh, chili peppers are cultivated during the winter and rainy seasons on about 100,000 ha. However, productivity and total production, especially during the rainy season, is severely affected (up to 80%) by the fungal disease anthracnose (causal agent Colletotrichum spp.) resulting in the need to import chili to satisfy domestic demand. Fruit infection by Colletotrichum spp. predisposes infection by other fungal pathogens, including Aspergillus flavus, thereby creating a possibility for the production of aflatoxin, which is toxic when consumed by humans. Unsafe levels of aflatoxin contamination (>20 ng/g) have been reported in red chili powder samples from Bangladesh. Anthracnose disease also has a detrimental effect on postharvest fruit quality and is known to reduce fruit quality traits such as dry weight, and content of capsaicin and oleoresin. To combat anthracnose, farmers apply large amounts of fungicides with negative health and environmental implications.

This project proposes to combine anthracnose resistance genes from two less widely cultivated chili species (C. chinense and C. baccatum) into the most commonly cultivated chili pepper, C. annuum. The research is expected to benefit chili pepper producers and seed companies in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh, Taiwan

Project Coordinator:
Dr. Sanjeet Kumar, Scientist – Pepper Breeding, World Vegetable Center

Cooperation Partners:
Prof. Wolfgang Bokelmann, Faculty of Life Sciences, Albrecht-Danil-Thaer Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture, Division of Agricultural Economics, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HUB), Germany

Dr. M. Abdour Rashid, Lal Teer Seeds, Dhaka, Bangladesh