Popcorn germplasm resistance to fungal diseases caused by Exserohilum turcicum and Bipolaris maydis
ABSTRACT Compared with the common corn, popcorn shows greater susceptibility to pests and diseases occurrence, being the use of resistant cultivars the most efficient strategy. In this regard, Germplasm Banks deserve special attention because they contain accessions that can be used as sources of resistance in breeding programs. The State University of Northern Rio de Janeiro (UENF) maintains a popcorn Germplasm Bank with accessions from tropical and temperate countries, including Diversity Centers for the species. In this study, we investigated the performance of 37 popcorn accessions landraces, hybrids, and inbreed lines ― from the Germplasm Collection of UENF’s Popcorn Breeding Program with respect to the fungal leaf diseases northern leaf blight (NLB) and southern leaf blight (SLB), caused by Exserohilum turcicum and Bipolaris maydis, aiming to select promising accessions for genetic resistance to be used in future crosses to generate new resistant cultivars for farmers. The dendrogram scattering by the UPGMA multivariate technique was efficient in discriminating resistant accessions. Satisfactory results were obtained for resistance to NLB in accessions L71, L75, L76, P7, and PARA-172, which can thus be considered remarkable sources of resistance. For resistance to SLB, the superior accessions that can be indicated as sources of resistance are ARZM-05083, ARZM-07049, and PARA-172.