Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Sporisorium sacchari
(Asian sugarcane smut)

Toolbox

Datasheet

Sporisorium sacchari (Asian sugarcane smut)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 10 December 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Sporisorium sacchari
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Asian sugarcane smut
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Fungi
  •     Phylum: Basidiomycota
  •       Subphylum: Ustilaginomycotina
  •         Class: Ustilaginomycetes
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Little published information exists on this plant pathogenic fungus of limited geographic distribution. S. sacchari is one of several Asian species only parasitizing the flowers of Saccharum species, thus...

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report

Pictures

Top of page
PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Smut bodies in florets. Original x20.
TitleSmut bodies
CaptionSmut bodies in florets. Original x20.
CopyrightUSDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory
Smut bodies in florets. Original x20.
Smut bodiesSmut bodies in florets. Original x20.USDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory
Spore balls. Original x400. Note scale bar.
TitleSpore balls
CaptionSpore balls. Original x400. Note scale bar.
CopyrightUSDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory
Spore balls. Original x400. Note scale bar.
Spore ballsSpore balls. Original x400. Note scale bar. USDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory
Teliospores. Original x400. Note scale bar.
TitleTeliospores
CaptionTeliospores. Original x400. Note scale bar.
CopyrightUSDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory
Teliospores. Original x400. Note scale bar.
TeliosporesTeliospores. Original x400. Note scale bar. USDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory
Teliospores. Original x1000. Note scale bar.
TitleTeliospores
CaptionTeliospores. Original x1000. Note scale bar.
CopyrightUSDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory
Teliospores. Original x1000. Note scale bar.
TeliosporesTeliospores. Original x1000. Note scale bar. USDA-ARS/Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory

Identity

Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Sporisorium sacchari (Rabenh.) K. Vánky 1985

Preferred Common Name

  • Asian sugarcane smut

Other Scientific Names

  • Sphacelotheca sacchari (Rabenh.) Cif. 1945
  • Sphacelotheca sacchari Y. Ling & T.L. Chen 1945
  • Ustilago sacchari Rabenh. 1870
  • Ustilago sacchari-ciliaris Brefeld 1895

International Common Names

  • English: smut of Saccharum

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page

Little published information exists on this plant pathogenic fungus of limited geographic distribution. S. sacchari is one of several Asian species only parasitizing the flowers of Saccharum species, thus causing much less damage to the plants than does the more widespread sugarcane smut that infects buds and reduces the growth of shoots. Although windborne, and probably contaminating seeds, S. sacchari spreads less well with the vegetatively propagated cane plants. Nevertheless, its effects on other possible hosts could pose a threat to native or agricultural plants if it were introduced.

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Fungi
  •         Phylum: Basidiomycota
  •             Subphylum: Ustilaginomycotina
  •                 Class: Ustilaginomycetes
  •                     Subclass: Ustilaginomycetidae
  •                         Order: Ustilaginales
  •                             Family: Ustilaginaceae
  •                                 Genus: Sporisorium
  •                                     Species: Sporisorium sacchari

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page

Vánky (1985; 1987) transferred this species to the genus Sporisorium because of its grass host, agreeing with Langdon and Fullerton (1978) that species of Sphacelotheca are restricted to smuts on dicotyledonous plants in the Polygonaceae. Later molecular taxonomic work on the smuts showed that Sphacelotheca belongs in the Microbotryales and that this order is more closely related to the rusts (Pucciniomycetes) than the smuts (Ustilaginomycetes) (Vánky, 2006). Sporisorium is closely related to Ustilago, the type genus of Ustilaginaceae (Piepenbring et al., 2002; Stoll et al., 2003). Among these “true” smuts, morphological characters of the sorus, previously used in taxonomy, are not phylogenetically informative, appearing to be influenced by the host (Stoll et al., 2005), such that additional close examination is required to distinguish genera and species.

The name Sphacelotheca sacchari Y. Ling & T.L. Chen 1945 is a later homonym of the combination made by Ciferri earlier the same year (Vánky, 2007). Ling and Chen did not designate a type, and the type for Rabenhorst’s Ustilago sacchari was destroyed by fire, so that comparisons cannot be made, but Vánky (2000; 2007) agreed with Ling (1953) that the Chinese species is probably a synonym.

Description

Top of page

Sori in swollen ovaries, ovoid to short cylindrical, 3-5 mm long, partly hidden by parts of floret; spore masses covered by a pale-brown membrane (peridium) rupturing irregularly, usually at apex, exposing blackish-brown, semi-agglutinated to powdery masses surrounding a short, tapering columella of plant and fungus tissue. Spores initially aggregated in very loose spore balls, 25-30 µm diameter, separating later, globose, subglobose, or ovoid to slightly irregular, 7-10 x 7-11(-12) µm, yellowish-brown; wall approximately 1 µm thick, finely and densely echinulate, spore profile appearing smooth or near smooth. Spore germination produces 3-septate basidia bearing fusiform basidiospores. See Mundkur (1942) and Vánky (2007).

Distribution

Top of page

This species is distributed in a wide range of the warmer parts of Asia, from Iran to the Philippines, but is recorded from only parts of India and China (EPPO, 2009). Ciferri (1938) identified it as introduced to Italy, but Vanky (1994) did not indicate that it had become established. One record (Piepenbring, 2002) apparently reports an accidental introduction into Colombia.

Distribution Table

Top of page

The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 23 Apr 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Asia

BangladeshPresentCABI (Undated); EPPO (2020)As Bengal; Original citation: Mundkur and Thirumalachar (1952)
ChinaPresentNativeLing (1953); Tai (1979); Guo (2002); EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)
-FujianPresentLing (1953); CABI (Undated)
-GuangxiPresentLing (1953)
-HainanPresentGuo (2002); CABI (Undated)
-JiangsuPresentLing (1953)
-SichuanPresentLing (1953); EPPO (2020)
-YunnanPresentGuo (2002)
-ZhejiangPresentCABI (Undated)Original citation: Teng (1996)
IndiaPresentCABI (Undated); EPPO (2020)Original citation: Mundkur and Thirumalachar (1952)
-BiharPresentCABI (Undated); EPPO (2020)Original citation: Mundkur and Thirumalachar (1952)
-PunjabPresentCABI (Undated); EPPO (2020)Original citation: Mundkur and Thirumalachar (1952)
-Uttar PradeshPresentCABI (Undated); EPPO (2020)Original citation: Mundkur and Thirumalachar (1952)
IranPresentMundkur (1942); Vánky (1985); EPPO (2020)
MalaysiaPresentCABI (Undated a); EPPO (2020)Present based on regional distribution.
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentZundel (1953); EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)
PakistanPresentAhmad et al. (1997); EPPO (2020)
PhilippinesPresentReinking (1919); EPPO (2020)
ThailandPresentShivas et al. (2007)

Europe

ItalyAbsent, Intercepted onlyCiferri (1938); EPPO (2020)

South America

ColombiaAbsent, Intercepted onlyPiepenbring (2002)

Risk of Introduction

Top of page

The risk of introduction is associated with possible transport of vegetative seed stock or of true seed for use in breeding/hybridization of cultivated species of Saccharum, but is diminished by the fact that the fungus does not infect the vegetative parts, only the flowers. If introduced at planting, the fungus would have to survive in the field until flowering, and then succeed in infecting from the soil or stem.

Habitat List

Top of page
CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page

Some hosts of this fungus may be identified as species in Erianthus, a synonym of Saccharum (Vánky, 2000). No hosts are clearly shared with Sporisorium scitamineum (Vánky, 2000; 2006) except that Saccharum officinarum, the cultivated sugarcane, has been reported as a host in China (Zundel, 1953; Tai, 1979) and the Philippines (Reinking, 1919).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

Top of page
Plant nameFamilyContext
SaccharumPoaceaeWild host
Saccharum arundinaceum (pin reedgrass)PoaceaeWild host
Saccharum bengalensePoaceaeWild host
Saccharum narengaPoaceaeWild host
Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)PoaceaeMain
Saccharum ravennae (ravenna grass)PoaceaeWild host
Saccharum spontaneum (wild sugarcane)PoaceaeWild host

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage

Symptoms

Top of page

The fungus replaces the ovary and seed in the individual florets with small bodies containing the compacted to powdery, dark, spore balls. Dissemination of the spores leaves the erect, pale, tapering columella in the centre of the floret.

List of Symptoms/Signs

Top of page
SignLife StagesType
Inflorescence / black fungal spores
Seeds / galls

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page

Natural Dispersal

Natural dispersal of the smut spores from infected plants is primarily driven by wind (Lee-Lovick, 1978).

Accidental Introduction

Accidental introduction could occur if spores are present on vegetative planting stock, true seed imported for breeding purposes, or on stems of Saccharum sp. that are marketed or used in construction.

Pathway Vectors

Top of page
VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Windspores Yes Lee-Lovick, 1978

Economic Impact

Top of page

Holliday (1980) indicated that the smuts on sugarcane other than Sporisorium scitamineum are economically unimportant. Due to the fact that the flowers are infected, rather than the buds, S. sacchari has much less effect on the growth of the stems, which are the harvested plant parts.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Host damage
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
Impact mechanisms
  • Pathogenic
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field

Detection and Inspection

Top of page

S. sacchari occurs in the individual florets only and is visible as small greyish to dark-brown bodies replacing the ovary and seed. Individual spores mixed with the seed or adhering to stems could only be detected and identified using high magnification light microscopy.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page

Other smut fungi occurring on Saccharum spp. include:

- Sporisorium erianthi [Sphacelotheca erianthi], which differs in having smaller spores (5-9(-10) µm diameter) and larger sterile cells (12-16 µm diameter).

- Sporisorium macrosporum, which differs in having larger spores (11-15 x 12-18 µm diameter), with larger spines.

- Sporisorium pulverulentum, which differs in having larger spores (8-9 (-12) x 9.5-13.0(-14.0) µm diameter), with a serrulate profile.

- Sporisorium scitamineum [Ustilagoscitaminea], which infects buds and shoots and differs in having the sori produced on the inflorescence stem not in the florets, replacing the panicle with a long thin curved body containing small blackish-brown spores, 5.5-7.5 x 6.5(-10.0) µm. Spore walls vary in profile from smooth to echinulate.

- Sporisorium kusanoi [Ustilago kusanoi], which is only reported on Saccharum bengalense, affects the whole inflorescence in the manner of S. scitamineum, and has small, smooth to finely punctate spores, 3.0-5.5 x 3.5-6.5 µm diameter.

For additional information see Vánky (1994; 2007).

Prevention and Control

Top of page

Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Cultural Control and Sanitary Measures

Methods for reducing or destroying the inoculum of Sporisorium scitamineum (Lee-Lovick, 1978) could be applied for S. sacchari, but may not be economically feasible.

Host Resistance

Smut caused by S. sacchari is less economically important (Holliday, 1980); therefore the use of resistant varieties, preferred for the control of S. scitamineum (Lee-Lovick, 1978), would be even more preferable for the flower-infecting smut.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

Top of page

Additional information is needed on the biology of survival between crops and the infection of flowers.

References

Top of page

Ahmad S; Iqbal SH; Khalid AN, 1997. Fungi of Pakistan. Lahore, Pakistan: Sultan Ahmad Mycological Society of Pakistan, 248 pp.

Ciferri R, 1938. Flora Italica Cryptoama. Fasc. 17. Pars 1: Fungi. Ustilaginales: Tilletiaceae, Graphiolaceae, Ustilaginaceae. Società Botanica Italiana. 443 pp.

Guo L, 2002. Ustilaginales. In: Zhuang, W.-Y., ed. Higher Fungi of Tropical China. Ithaca, New York,USA: Mycotaxon, Ltd., 389-393.

Holliday P, 1980. Fungus diseases of tropical crops. Fungus diseases of tropical crops. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Langdon RFN; Fullerton RA, 1978. The genus Sphacelotheca (Ustilaginales): criteria for its delimitation and the consequences thereof. Mycotaxon, 6:421-456.

Lee-Lovick G, 1978. Smut of sugarcane - Ustilago scitaminea. Review of Plant Pathology, 57(5):181-188

Ling L, 1953. The Ustilaginales of China. Farlowia, 4(3):305-351 pp.

Mundkur BB, 1942. Notes on Saccharum and Erianthus smuts. Kew Bulletin, 3:209-217.

Mundkur BB; Thirumalachar MJ, 1952. Ustilaginales of India. 84 pp.

Mundkur BB; Thirumalachar MJ, 1952. Ustilaginales of India. Wallingford, UK: CAB International, 84 pp.

Piepenbring M, 2002. Annotated checklist and key for smut fungi in Colombia. Caldasia, 24:103-119.

Piepenbring M; Stoll M; Oberwinkler F, 2002. The generic position of Ustilago maydis, Ustilago scitaminea and Ustilago escultenta (Ustilaginales). Mycological Progress, 1:71-80.

Reinking OA, 1919. Host index of diseases of economic plants in the Philippines. Philippine Agriculturist, 8:38-54.

Shivas RG; Athipunyakom P; Likhitekaraj S; Butranu W; Bhasabutra T; Somrith A; Vánky K; Vánky C, 2007. An annotated checklist of smut fungi (Ustilaginomycetes) from Thailand. Australasian Plant Pathology, 36(4):376-382. http://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/39.htm

Stoll M; Begerow D; Oberwinkler F, 2005. Molecular phylogeny of Ustilago, Sporisorium, and related taxa based on combined analyses of rDNA sequences. Mycological Research, 109(3):342-356.

Stoll M; Piepenbring M; Begerow D; Oberwinkler F, 2003. Molecular phylogeny of Ustilago, Sporisorium and related taxa based on combined analyses of rRNA sequences. Mycological Research, 109:342-356.

Tai FL, 1979. Sylloge fungorum Sinicorum. Sylloge fungorum Sinicorum. Peking, China: Science Press, Academia Sinica, 1527 pp.

Teng S. C., 1996. Fungi of China. Fungi of China., xiv + 586 pp.

Vánky K, 1985. Carpathian Ustilaginales. Symbolae Botanicae Upsalienses, 24(2). x + 309 pp.

Vánky K, 1987. Illustrated Genera of Smut Fungi. Cryptogamic Studies volume 1. Stuttgart, Germany: Gustave Fischer Verlag, 159 pp.

Vánky K, 1994. European smut fungi. Stuttgart, Germany; Gustav Fischer Verlag, 570 pp.

Vánky K, 2000. The smut fungi on Saccharum and related grasses. Australasian Plant Pathology, 29(3):155-163.

Vánky K, 2006. Illustrated Genera of Smut Fungi. Second edition. Minnesota, USA: American Phytopathological Society, 238 pp.

Vánky K, 2007. Smut fungi of the Indian Subcontinent. Polish Botanical Studies, 26:265 pp. http://www.ib-pan.krakow.pl/ibwyd/pbs/pbs.htm

Zundel GL, 1953. The Ustilaginales of the world. The Pennsylvania State College School of Agriculture., xi + 410 pp.

Distribution References

Ahmad S, Iqbal S H, Khalid A N, 1997. Fungi of Pakistan. Lahore, Pakistan: Sultan Ahmad Mycological Society of Pakistan. 248 pp.

CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated b. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Ciferri R, 1938. Flora Italica Cryptoama. Fasc. 17. Pars 1: Fungi. Ustilaginales: Tilletiaceae, Graphiolaceae, Ustilaginaceae. Italy: Società Botanica Italiana. 443 pp.

EPPO, 2020. EPPO Global database. In: EPPO Global database, Paris, France: EPPO.

Guo L, 2002. Ustilaginales. In: Higher Fungi of Tropical China. [ed. by Zhuang W Y]. Ithaca, New York, USA: Mycotaxon Ltd. 389-393.

Ling L, 1953. The Ustilaginales of China. Farlowia. 4 (3), 305-351.

Mundkur B B, 1942. Notes on Saccharum and Erianthus smuts. Kew Bulletin. 209-217.

Piepenbring M, 2002. Annotated checklist and key for smut fungi in Colombia. Caldasia. 103-119.

Reinking O A, 1919. Host index of diseases of economic plants in the Philippines. Philippine Agriculturist. 38-54.

Shivas R G, Athipunyakom P, Likhitekaraj S, Butranu W, Bhasabutra T, Somrith A, Vánky K, Vánky C, 2007. An annotated checklist of smut fungi (Ustilaginomycetes) from Thailand. Australasian Plant Pathology. 36 (4), 376-382. http://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/39.htm DOI:10.1071/AP07036

Tai F L, 1979. Sylloge fungorum Sinicorum. Peking, China: Science Press, Academia Sinica. 1527 pp.

Vánky K, 1985. Carpathian Ustilaginales. In: Symbolae Botanicae Upsalienses, 24 (2) x + 309 pp.

Zundel G L, 1953. The Ustilaginales of the world. The Pennsylvania State College School of Agriculture. xi + 410 pp.

Contributors

Top of page

06/11/09 Original text by:

Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory, USDA-ARS, 10300 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705, USA

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map