Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has developed a biocontrol agent, Trichoderma asperellum (2% WP), to combat foot rot disease in Basmati rice.

Key points:

  • PAU successfully registered Trichoderma asperellum with the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC).
  • This biocontrol agent is specifically aimed at helping Punjab farmers manage foot rot disease, a major threat to their valuable Basmati rice crops.
  • Trichoderma asperellum offers an eco-friendly alternative to chemical pesticides, effectively managing foot rot disease while minimizing environmental harm.

Foot Rot Disease in Basmati Rice

Foot rot disease is caused by a fungus named Fusarium verticillioides. It can affect the plant in its younger or mature stage.

  • Symptoms: Wilting, yellowing, and death of seedlings. Roots may appear rotted or discolored.
  • Life Cycle: The fungus survives in soil debris and infects young seedlings through contact with infected soil or water. Spores can also spread the disease through wind or water.


  • Foot rot primarily affects Basmati rice seedlings, leading to significant yield losses for farmers.
  • Effective disease prevention is crucial during the nursery stage and after transplantation to the main fields.

Current Management Practices:

  • Farmers currently rely on practices like early seedling treatment, using disease-free seeds, and destroying infected seedlings.
  • Timely nursery management is also recommended to prevent disease spread.
  • However, some current methods, such as chemical treatments using Trichoderma harzianum and fungicides like Sprint 75 WS (carbendazim + mancozeb), pose potential environmental and health risks.


  • Reduces reliance on chemical treatments, promoting soil health and consumer safety.
  • Shows promising results in combating foot rot without leaving harmful residues on crops.

Challenges and Future Plans:

  • Ensuring widespread distribution of Trichoderma asperellum among farmers is a key challenge.
  • To address this, PAU has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a private company for large-scale production and distribution.
  • The goal is to make Trichoderma asperellum readily available to farmers in the upcoming seasons, potentially transforming Basmati rice cultivation practices in Punjab and Haryana.

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