- •Striga hermonthica (Striga) is an obligate hemiparasitic weed, causing severe yield losses in cereals, including rice, throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Striga germination depends on strigolactones (germination stimulants) exuded by the host roots. The interspecific New Rice for Africa (NERICA) cultivars offer a potentially interesting gene pool for a screen for low germination-inducing rice cultivars.
- •Exudates were collected from all NERICA cultivars and their parents (Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima) for the analysis of strigolactones. In vitro and in situ Striga germination, attachment and emergence rates were recorded for each cultivar.
- •NERICA 1 and CG14 produced significantly less strigolactones and showed less Striga infection than the other cultivars. NERICAs 7, 8, 11 and 14 produced the largest amounts of strigolactones and showed the most severe Striga infection. Across all the cultivars and parents, there was a positive relationship between the amount of strigolactones in the exudate and Striga germination, attachment and emergence rates.
- •This study shows that there is genetic variation in Striga pre-attachment resistance in NERICA rice. Cultivars combining this pre-attachment resistance with post-attachment resistance (already identified) can provide a key component for durable integrated management of this noxious weed in cereal production systems in sub-Saharan Africa.