Mitigation of Fusarium head blight in wheat caused by Fusarium graminearum through the use of host resistance genes and biological controls

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Nowakowski, Gabrielle
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The fungal pathogen, Fusarium graminearum, is a primary causal agent of the wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) disease Fusarium head blight in North America. Heavy infection from this pathogen leads to economic losses due to a decrease in the quality and quantity of grain. Infection by F. graminearum also leads to accumulation of deoxynivalenol (DON), a mycotoxin that produces harmful side effects to both humans and animals when ingested. Development of resistant wheat cultivars is needed to maintain a sustainable, safe, food supply. In this study, a double haploid population derived from a cross between two winter wheat cultivars, Flourish and Emerson, was used to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with FHB symptoms and DON accumulation in the grain. So far, there are no fully resistant cultivars of wheat to protect against FHB infection. Therefore, alternative methods need to be considered. A newly developed bio-fungicide containing a fungal antagonist to F. graminearum, Clonostachys rosea, was studied and compared to the commercially available fungicide, Caramba® (active ingredient, metconazole). These QTL were present on chromosomes 1B, 2B, 4D, 6D and 7A. Results from this study showed that there was some potential in using C. rosea in a bio-fungicide treatment plan. However, the fungi’s sensitivity to environmental conditions may have contributed to poor and inconsistent control of F. graminearum in this study.
Fusarium graminearum, Clonostachys rosea, Emerson, Wheat, QTL, Genetics, Fusarium head blight