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Damping off - Pythium aphanidermatum
The pathogen attacks the seedlings at any stage in the nursery. Sprouting seedlings are infected and wither before emergence from the soil (Pre emergence damping off). Water soaked minute lesions appear on the stems near the soil surface, soon girdling the stem, spreading up and down in the stems and with in one or two days stem may rot leading to toppling over of the seedlings (Post-emergence damping off).


tobacco D dying of seedling in patches
Pre and post emergence damping off

 The young seedlings in the nursery are killed in patches and infection spreads quickly. Under the favorable conditions, the entire seedlings in the nursery are killed within 3 to 4 days. A thick weft of mycelium may be seen on the surface of the soil.

The fungus produces thick, hyaline, thin walled, non-septate mycelium. It produces irregularly lobed sporangia which germinate to produce vesicle containing zoopores. The zoospores are kidney shaped and biflagellate. Oospores spherical, light to deep yellow or yellowish brown coloured, measuring 17-19µm in diameter.
Favourable Conditions

  • Over crowding of seedling.
  • Ill drained nursery beds
  • Heavy shade in nursery
  • High atmospheric humidity (90-100 per cent)
  • High soil moisture
  • Low temperature (below 24 C) and low soil temperature of about 20˚C.

Disease cycle
The pathogen survives in the soil as oospores and chlamydospores. The primary infection is from the soil-borne fungal spores and secondary spread through sporangia and zoospores transmitted by wind and irrigation water. 



  • Prepare raised seed beds with adequate drainage facility.
  • Burn the seed beds with paddy husk before sowing.
  • Drench the seed bed with 1 per cent Bordeaux mixture or 0.2 per cent Copper oxychloride, two days before sowing.
  • Avoid over crowding of seedlings by using recommended seed rate (1 to 1.5g/2.5m2).
  • Avoid excess watering of the seedlings.
  • Spray the nursery beds two weeks after sowing with 1 per cent Bordeaux mixture or 0.2 per cent Copper oxychloride or 0.2 per cent Mancozeb and repeat subsequently at 4 days interval under dry weather and at 2 days interval under wet cloudy weather or spray 0.2 per cent Metalaxyl at 10 days interval commencing from 20 days after germination.