Assessment and Reaction of Triticum aestivum Genotypes to Fusarium graminearum and effects on Traits Related to Grain Yield and Seed Quality
Chappell, Matthew Randolph
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Fusarium graminearum (Schwabe), causal organism of fusarium head blight (FHB), has become a major pathogen of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) throughout North America. Since its discovery in the United States, the disease has spread south and east until at present it is an annual threat for growers of winter wheat in the Mid-Atlantic region. Yield losses for soft red winter (SRW) wheat averaged 908 kg ha-1 in the FHB outbreak of 1998 (Griffey et al., 1999). The economic loss from this single FHB epidemic was an estimated 8.5 million dollars. Environmental conditions favorable for FHB development, including above average rainfall and temperatures during anthesis, have become more common in the Upper-Midwestern wheat-growing region over the past decade, leading to substantial losses in wheat and barley crops. This, coupled with low prices being paid for wheat, has prompted research toward solving the problem of FHB across the nation. The majority of labor and financial resources devoted to FHB research are dedicated to incorporating FHB resistance into adapted wheat lines. While this is a prudent method of combating this disease, this process will take many years to complete. We have examined all FHB assessment parameters, which include FHB incidence, FHB severity, FHB index, percentage fusarium damaged kernels (percentage FDK), and 15-acetyl deoxynivalenol toxin (DON toxin) accumulation, to ascertain which assessment parameters best quantify FHB resistance levels in addition to grain yield and grain volume weight (GVW) losses. FHB index provides the most reliable in-field assessment of a genotype's resistance level, whereas percentage FDK provides a reliable measure of a genotype's resistance level post-harvest. FHB index and percentage FDK are also the most predictive assessment parameters with regard to grain yield and GVW loss. A wide range in both level and type of resistance was observed among genotypes examined in this study. The cultivars Agripro Patton, Ernie, INW9824, Roane, and the experimental line NY87048W-7388 consistently had lower scores for FHB assessment parameters and lower losses of grain yield and GVW.
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