University of Illinois

No. 19/July 29, 1998

Sudden Death Syndrome of Soybeans

Bill Brink, crop systems educator in the Springfield office, reported finding sudden death syndrome (SDS) of soybeans in a field in his area of the state. SDS is a fungal disease that appears after flowering, usually in the southern or central areas of the state. SDS is identified by the distinctive leaf symptoms, including browning of the tissues between veins on the upper leaves. It can be confirmed by splitting the stems lengthwise and examining the pith. The reason for this is that brown stem rot can produce the same leaf symptoms but will have a distinctive browning of the pith, which is not present in SDS.

If fields show SDS, management for the next soybean crop should consist of the planting of varieties that show more tolerance or resistance to the disease. Southern Illinois University researchers have been evaluating soybean varieties for many years and can provide information on the performance of these varieties under conditions where SDS is a problem. Contact the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and Research Studies at SIU for more information.

H. Walker Kirby (kirby@mail.aces., Extension Plant Pathology, (217)333-8414