Fusarium graminearum Schwabe [teleomorph Gibberella zeae (Schwein) Petch] is the predominant causal agent of Fusarium head blight (FHB), an economically important disease of wheat, in North America. Warm and humid environments at and shortly after anthesis favour FHB. FHB results in yield losses and quality losses in infected grain due to the accumulation of mycotoxins produced by the invading fungus. The objective of this study was to characterise the influence of different F. graminearum isolates and host resistance on FHB development and mycotoxin accumulation. A series of two greenhouse experiments were established where five single isolates of F. graminearum were tested. Three wheat cultivars were examined: Alsen (moderately resistant), 2375 (moderately susceptible) and Wheaton (susceptible). In the point-inoculation experiments, ca. 1000 conidia were placed into a central spikelet of spikes at anthesis. Point-inoculated spikelets were sampled at different growth stages up to soft dough stage. Samples from both experiment series were analysed for mycotoxins. The susceptible cultivar Wheaton had both the highest FHB severity and mycotoxin accumulation. The spread of symptoms both below and above the inoculated central spikelet was significantly higher in 2375 and Wheaton than Alsen. Though deoxynivalenol (DON) did not peak and decline in all experiments, when a peak in the DON content was present it was earlier in 2375 (early milk) than in either Alsen (early dough) or Wheaton (late milk). Though the isolates did not rank similarly in all experiments and in all cultivars, generally isolates Butte86Ada-11 and B63A were more aggressive and isolates 49-3 and B45A were less aggressive in terms of disease severity and mycotoxin accumulation.
- head blight
- wheat scab