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More Virulent Strain of Fusarium Head Blight Prevails

by 5m Editor
25 October 2010, at 9:37am

CANADA - An analysis of winter wheat samples collected this year indicates a more virulent strain of fusarium head blight is displacing the less virulent strain cereal grain growers are familiar with, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Researchers with the University of Manitoba have been tracking the prevalence of 3-A DON a fusarium head blight chemotype that produces higher levels of deoxynivalenol or DON a mycotoxin that reduces the end use quality of cereal grains.

Plant science professor Dr Dilantha Fernando says we have seen an increase of the 3-A DON isolates over the past four to five years.

Dr Dilantha Fernando-University of Manitoba

The biggest concern that we have now is that, if 3-A DON isolates are producing more DON there will be more toxin in the grain so that is one concern.

If there is more toxin then there will be more disease in the crop.

It is basically then two-fold where you are getting more DON and more infection because of more disease in the crop because of the 3-A DON isolates being present.

The last but on least is the presence of 3-A DON kind of eliminating the 15-A DON isolates as we see now would make it even more difficult because then we will most likely have only the presence of the more toxin producing isolates in the future in Manitoba.

This is very true for the eastern part of Canada and now it seems like it happening right here.


Dr Fernando notes analysis of fusarium infected winter wheat samples collected from one area in Manitoba this year showed close to 85 per cent infected by 3-A DON.

He says spring wheat and winter wheat samples from other fields will be assessed in the near future to get a better picture of whether the numbers in this one area hold true for other areas.