About the resource

Correct citation:

Mew TW, Hibino H, Savary S, Vera Cruz CM, Opulencia R, Hettel GP, eds. 2018. Rice diseases: Biology and selected management practices. Los Baños (Philippines): International Rice Research Institute. PDF e-book. rice-diseases.irri.org


This online resource is authored by 25 global rice disease specialists who are covering the importance of 80 plant diseases in rice production, the biology of these diseases, and selected disease management practices. It is published through the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP, RICE as of 1 January 2017), the CGIAR program on rice, with the assistance of partners including the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Africa Rice Center, and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

Part I provides a general introduction. Part II focuses on the biology of rice diseases caused by various pathogen groups and recent advances in research. The chapters on the biology of rice diseases provide information on most aspects of individual diseases in a condensed format. Part III covers some selected disease management issues and practices.

In a textbook format, this resource is not just a literature review of individual diseases, although there are around 3,500 references cited throughout. A lot of information has been distilled into—or shown to be related to—plant pathology principles or new knowledge. It is hoped that graduate students—the new generation of rice researchers—will understand where the science in rice disease research is coming from and what progress has been made.

One of the central points in this online resource is how the research evolved around “host specificity.”This was done because IRRI scientists have been directly involved over the past decades and are still involved in such research. When this research started in the 1960s and 1970s, the question was—and still is—about host specificity, and how the pathogen prepares to invade or infect the host plant and how the host plant is prepared to defend the invasion or infection.

This resource aims to link the research starting from race-virulence to avirulence with effectors and receptors in recognition and specificity and with downstream signaling to understand how resistance operates at the cellular and molecular levels.

As noted in the Table of contents, a few sections and chapters of this resource are still undergoing, writing and technical review and editing. These are being put online as they are released by the technical and substantive editors.


This online resource, which was launched in 2017, would not have been possible without many scientists, personnel, and institutions who encouraged the major revision of S.H. Ou’s Rice Diseases, which had been the most comprehensive and widely used reference on rice diseases since it was first published in 1972 and later revised in 1985. 

Specifically, we thank:

Dr. Ren Wang, IRRI’s deputy director general for research in 2004, for initially endorsing and providing the first funding for this project. 

Dr. Bas Bouman, director of the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), for picking up the funding for this initiative until its completion. 

Dr. Robert Zeigler, IRRI director general emeritus; Dr. Bruce Tolentino, IRRI deputy director general for communication and partnerships; Dr. Matthew Morell, IRRI director general; and Dr. Hei Leung, IRRI plant pathologist and senior scientist, for their full support of this endeavor.

Dr. Rina B. Opulencia, assistant professor in microbiology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, for initial technical editing of all manuscripts, liaising with authors and reviewers, organizing the entire external review process, and processing of permission requests for copyrighted materials. 

Gene P. Hettel, IRRI Sr. consulting editor and content specialist, for substantive English editing and over all coordination of the project.  

Staff members of IRRI Communications: Gerardo T. Laviña, who the website for online resource; Emmanuel Panisales, who did the page layout in pdf format and assisted in drawing various disease life cycles; Juan Lazaro IV, who prepared materials for the soft launch in October 2016; and Antonette Abigail Caballero, who helped with funding logistics and contracts for consultants.

We are deeply grateful to the following scientists, who served as critical reviewers of various chapters and whose comments and feedback significantly improved the reliability the information presented:

Dr. Sridhar Ranganathan, rice pathologist from India.

Dr. Koji Azegami, an authority of rice bacterial seedling diseases. He also provided some color photos. 

Dr. Narceo Bajet, virologist from Tarlac Agricultural University, Philippines. 

Dr.  Filomena Sta. Cruz, virologist, University of the Philippines, Los Baños. 

Dr. Luciana Villanueva, professor and nematode specialist, Benguet State University, Philippines.

Dr. Teodora Dizon, plant pathologist, University of the Philippines, Los Baños

We also thank:

Drs. David Mackill, U.C. Davis,  and Shaobing Peng, Huazhong Agricultural University, for verifying the planting density of rice prior to the popularity of HYVs.  

Dr. Donald Groth, Louisiana State University, for generously giving us permissions to use some of the disease photos in his online collection.   

IRRI’s plant pathology staff members  for their assistance, especially, Dr. Nancy Castilla, for searching the published literature for references and additional information used in the writing; and Cecille Salonga, for her secretarial support. 

T.W. ‘Tom’ Mew, H. Hibino, S. Savary, and C.M. Vera Cruz