Crown rot (fusarium pseudograminearum) symptom development and pathogen spread in wheat genotypes with varying disease resistance

PhD Thesis

Malligan, Cassandra D.. 2009. Crown rot (fusarium pseudograminearum) symptom development and pathogen spread in wheat genotypes with varying disease resistance. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.

Crown rot (fusarium pseudograminearum) symptom development and pathogen spread in wheat genotypes with varying disease resistance

TypePhD Thesis
AuthorMalligan, Cassandra D.
SupervisorSutherland, Mark
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages1347

[Abstract]Crown rot, caused by Fusarium pseudograminearum (Fpg), is an important soilborne disease of wheat and barley. The degree of crop damage depends on seasonal conditions. Typically, high moisture conditions early in the season encourage seedling infection from stubble residues. Moisture stress later in the season leads to the production of unfilled “whiteheads”. Current control relies on cultural practices and sowing of partially resistant varieties. In order to understand the nature of partial resistance, I have examined the patterns of disease symptom development and pathogen spread in susceptible and partially resistant tissues of both pot-grown wheat, barley and oat seedlings and field-grown inoculated wheat trials. Further research was conducted to determine whether differences in pathogenicity occur amongst a small subset of Australian Fpg isolates.

Seedling experiments confirmed that differences in disease ratings between susceptible and partially resistant genotypes are detected in younger leaf sheaths of older seedlings. At later harvest times differences between these genotypes are not significant in older leaf sheaths. Re-isolation of Fpg from inoculated seedlings has shown that each tissue was infected later in partially resistant genotypes compared to susceptible ones with a significantly lower number of isolations recorded at each harvest time in 42 day old seedlings. Barley cultivars were rapidly infected by the pathogen and exhibited high levels of disease symptoms. By comparison levels of infection in oats were low compared to all other genotypes. No significant differences between genotypes were observed in coleoptile tissues, either in fungal colonisation or development of disease symptoms. Disease development in the subcrown internode varied between lines/cultivars but was not representative of the relative susceptibility of each genotype. The pathogen did not appear to invade plant tissue via the vascular system but rather spread directly across the stem from leaf sheath to leaf sheath.

Field trials were designed to study disease symptom development and localisation of Fpg hyphae in all expanded tissues (excluding head and roots) in wheat genotypes of known susceptibility to crown rot. Plants were harvested at approximately fortnightly intervals throughout the growing season. The main effects and interactions of harvest, genotype and tiller on each plant part were examined with a detailed statistical analysis of differences seen in these factors between susceptible and partially resistant wheat genotypes, in two inoculated field trials. While differences between genotypes were mostly not significant at each harvest when disease rating or isolations from leaf sheath tissues were examined, important differences between susceptible and resistant genotypes were seen in disease developments and Fpg infections of stem tissue in field trials. Restriction of pathogen growth and symptom development was more pronounced in the tissues of 2-49 (possesses seedling resistance) than in the field resistant Sunco. At present, the mechanisms that lead to these resistance responses are unknown.

The pathogenicity study aimed to determine whether 7 Fpg isolates and a mixed inoculum differed in ability to cause crown rot in 9 wheat genotypes ranging in susceptibility to this disease. Although a genotype*inoculum interaction was significant, there is no evidence of stable pathogenic races in the isolates examined in these experiments. The growth of all isolates was partially inhibited in a consistent manner on resistant genotypes when compared to very susceptible genotypes. These results confirm significant differences in the aggressiveness of Fpg isolates on wheat, evidenced by variation in mean disease severity between isolates growing on a range of host genotypes.

Keywordscrown rot; disease; crop; seedling infection
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020300804. Horticultural crop protection (incl. pests, diseases and weeds)
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