Pearl stresses particularly pathogen attack. All parts of

Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum
(L.) R.Br.) is a staple food and fodder crop of semi-arid tropics. The crop is relatively less
susceptible to plant diseases when compared to wheat, rice, maize, and sorghum
(National Research Council, 1996). Pearl millet being a C4 plant as against
rice and wheat which are C3 plants is more stress tolerant, anatomy and the
cell wall structure is made up of tissues which are tougher for the pathogen to
penetrate. Anatomically,
in C3 plants bundle sheath cells do not contain chloroplasts and carbon
fixation and Calvin Cycle reactions occur in mesophyll cells in the presence of
oxygen whereas in C4 plants, the bundle sheath cells contain chloroplasts;
carbon is fixed in mesophyll cells, then transported to bundle sheath cells
where Calvin Cycle reactions occur in the absence of oxygen.

On
the other hand, C4 plants are more adapted to warm or hot seasonal conditions
under moist or dry environments. Production and Feed quality is often
higher in C4 plants. Therefore, C4 plants having all the advantages to resist
biotic and abiotic stresses particularly pathogen attack. All parts of plant
are susceptible to disease and one or more diseases can occur on virtually
every plant and in every field. The diseases express typical symptoms and are
important because of their effects on the quality and quantity of plants, straw
or grain.

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Although
pearl millet is attacked by several diseases, the fungal diseases are more with
21 in number which cause considerable yield loss. The next important diseases
are caused by nematodes 11 in number, followed by viral diseases 8 in number,
bacterial diseases four in number, and only one parasitic flowering plant
disease has been reported in pearl millet. In India, only fungal diseases are
important on improved cultivars and less found on the local cultivars. Fungal
diseases causing heavy damage on pearl millet production may be due to genetic
uniformity in the improved cultivars with high yield potential, intensive
agronomic practices, climatic changes particularly due to rise in temperature,
CO2 level and more precipitation.

Among
the fungal diseases infecting pearl millet, downy mildew caused by Sclerospora
graminicola (Sacc.) Schroet., ergot
caused by Claviceps fusiformis Loveless, blast  caused by Magnaporthe
grisea (Cke.) Sacc, rust
caused by Puccinia substriata Ell. & Barth and smut caused by Moesziomyces
penicillariae (Bref.) Vanky are economically important.