Strategies for the Control of Fusarium Head Blight in Cereals

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Pest and Disease Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2022) | Viewed by 17714

Special Issue Editor

Department of Pathogen Genetics and Plant Resistance, Institute of Plant Genetics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Interests: plant pathology; plant pathogens; plant resistance; fungi; aerobiology; agriculture
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

During this hard time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we praise medical personnel looking after our lives. However, we are also concerned about the global economy and the supply of food for the population worldwide. The United Nations has dedicated 2020 to raising awareness about plant health and the impact of healthy plants on food security, poverty, economic development, and sustainability. We know that grain cereals, such as rice, wheat, barley, and maize, are the nutritional basis of the diets of humans and animals. Will the global production of cereals be enough to feed us all? Their sufficient supply and good quality are the foundation for peace and safety.

In this Special Issue, we welcome original research, reviews, and opinions on recent advances in strategies for the control of Fusarium head blight, which is one of the biggest concerns in cereal health. Are there any useful ways of inoculum monitoring to detect Fusarium pathogens at the earliest possible point? Of determining cultivars resistant to the disease and tools supporting resistance breeding? Of developing useful decision support systems? Of discovering means of disease control with agrotechnologies? In this Special Issue, we are interested in preventing grain losses, but we are also interested in ensuring that the rescued yield is free from mycotoxins.

Prof. Dr. Malgorzata Jedryczka
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • inoculum monitoring
  • FHB control
  • resistance breeding
  • molecular markers
  • decision support systems

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 1427 KiB  
Article
Resistance to Fusarium Head Blight, Kernel Damage, and Concentrations of Fusarium Mycotoxins in the Grain of Winter Wheat Lines
Agronomy 2021, 11(9), 1690; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11091690 - 25 Aug 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1902
Abstract
Fusarium head blight (FHB) can contaminate cereal grains with mycotoxins. Winter wheat can also become infected with FHB and is more resistant than durum wheat to head infection but less than other small-grain cereals. The aim of this study was to identify winter [...] Read more.
Fusarium head blight (FHB) can contaminate cereal grains with mycotoxins. Winter wheat can also become infected with FHB and is more resistant than durum wheat to head infection but less than other small-grain cereals. The aim of this study was to identify winter wheat lines that combine low levels of head infection and kernel damage with low levels of grain contamination with mycotoxins. Resistance of 27 winter wheat lines (four with resistance gene Fhb1) and cultivars to FHB was evaluated over a three-year (2017–2019) experiment established in two locations (Poznań and Radzików, Poland). At the anthesis stage, heads were inoculated with Fusarium culmorum isolates. The FHB index was scored, and the percentage of Fusarium-damaged kernels (FDKs) was assessed. The grain was analyzed for type B trichothecenes (deoxynivalenol and derivatives and nivalenol) and zearalenone content. The average FHB index of both locations was 12.9%. The proportion of FDK was 6.9% in weight and 8.5% in number. The average content of deoxynivalenol amounted to 3.543 mg/kg, and the average amount of nivalenol was 2.115 mg/kg. In total, we recorded 5.804 m/kg of type B trichothecenes. The zearalenone content in the grain was 0.214 mg/kg. Relationships between the FHB index, FDK, and mycotoxin contents were highly significant for wheat lines; however, these relationships were stronger for FDK than for FHB index. Breeding lines combining all types of FHB resistance were observed, five of which had resistance levels similar to those of wheat lines with the Fhb1 gene. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategies for the Control of Fusarium Head Blight in Cereals)
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13 pages, 1428 KiB  
Article
Efficacy of Fungicides against Fusarium Head Blight Depends on the Timing Relative to Infection Rather than on Wheat Growth Stage
Agronomy 2021, 11(8), 1549; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11081549 - 01 Aug 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3382
Abstract
Fungicides used to control Fusarium head blight (FHB) are commonly applied at the wheat growth stage considered to be most susceptible, i.e., anthesis. We compared the efficacy of the most commonly used fungicide groups that were applied following two strategies: (i) at pre-defined [...] Read more.
Fungicides used to control Fusarium head blight (FHB) are commonly applied at the wheat growth stage considered to be most susceptible, i.e., anthesis. We compared the efficacy of the most commonly used fungicide groups that were applied following two strategies: (i) at pre-defined growth stages, from the first half of heading to the end of flowering (experiment 1, in 2013 to 2015), or (ii) based on timing of infection by F. graminearum, specifically at 10, 7, 4, or 1 day before, or 3 or 5 days after artificial inoculation of the fungus (experiment 2, in 2017 and 2018). Fungicide efficacy was evaluated in terms of FHB incidence, FHB severity, and DON contamination by using generalised mixed models. In experiment 1, all fungicide groups reduced FHB severity and DON but only by <50% compared to an untreated control, with no differences among fungicides or growth stages at time of application. In experiment 2, the efficacy of fungicides was higher for applications at 1 or 4 days before inoculation than at 7 or 10 days before or 3 or 5 days after inoculation, with differences among fungicide groups. Based on our results, the timing of fungicide application for FHB control should be based on the time of F. graminearum infection rather than on wheat phenology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategies for the Control of Fusarium Head Blight in Cereals)
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23 pages, 1100 KiB  
Article
Fusarium Head Blight and Associated Mycotoxins in Grains and Straw of Barley: Influence of Agricultural Practices
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 801; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040801 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2582
Abstract
Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a devastating fungal disease of small-grain cereals that causes significant yield losses and mycotoxin contamination, diminishing food and feed safety worldwide. In contrast to wheat, little is known about the agricultural practices that influence FHB and Fusarium mycotoxins [...] Read more.
Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a devastating fungal disease of small-grain cereals that causes significant yield losses and mycotoxin contamination, diminishing food and feed safety worldwide. In contrast to wheat, little is known about the agricultural practices that influence FHB and Fusarium mycotoxins in barley. Thus, a nationwide survey was conducted across Switzerland for harvest samples in 2016 and 2017, accompanied with a questionnaire to obtain information about the agricultural practices in each barley field. In total, 253 grain and 237 straw samples were analyzed. In both years, F. graminearum was the predominant Fusarium species in grains followed by F. avenaceum and F. poae. Growing maize before barley was associated with increased amount of F. graminearum DNA in grains and straw as well as with elevated concentrations of deoxynivalenol in grains of barley. On the other hand, growing pasture before barley resulted in increased incidence of F. poae and concentration of numerous mycotoxins in grains (e.g., enniatins) and straw (e.g., beauvericin). Reduced tillage practices were linked to increased incidence of F. graminearum and deoxynivalenol content in grains and straw. In contrast, conventional tillage was linked to higher incidence of F. poae. Moreover, use of spring barley was associated with decreased amount of F. graminearum DNA in grains and straw, but increased incidence of F. poae and F. avenaceum. Use of the spring variety Eunova was linked to increased concentrations of several Fusarium mycotoxins in grains (e.g., enniatins and nivalenol). Furthermore, the application of strobilurin-based fungicides was associated with higher deoxynivalenol and beauvericin contents in grains. The application of plant growth regulators was associated with increased concentration of some Fusarium mycotoxins in grains (e.g., culmorin), while absence of growth regulators application was linked to elevated concentration of some other mycotoxins (e.g., nivalenol). We conclude that individual agricultural practices can suppress some FHB causing species and reduce the associated mycotoxins, but can promote others. Hence, integrated control measures combining numerous prevention and intervention strategies should be applied for the sustainable management of mycotoxins in barley. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategies for the Control of Fusarium Head Blight in Cereals)
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13 pages, 1145 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Harvesting Time on Fusarium Mycotoxins in Spring Wheat Grain and Their Interaction with Grain Quality
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040642 - 26 Mar 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2363
Abstract
In this work, we studied the impact of harvesting time on Fusarium mycotoxin occurrence in spring wheat and the effect of mycotoxin contamination on the quality of these grains. The spring wheat grains (Triticum aestivum L.) were collected in 2016–2018 when the [...] Read more.
In this work, we studied the impact of harvesting time on Fusarium mycotoxin occurrence in spring wheat and the effect of mycotoxin contamination on the quality of these grains. The spring wheat grains (Triticum aestivum L.) were collected in 2016–2018 when the crop had reached full maturity, 10 ± 2 days and 17 ± 3 days after full maturity. The grain samples were analyzed for Fusarium infection and co-contamination with mycotoxins deoxynivalenol (DON), zearalenone (ZEA), and T-2 toxin (T-2), as well as the quality of the wheat grains (mass per hectolitre, contents of protein, starch, ash and fat, particle size index (PSI), falling number, sedimentation, wet gluten content, and gluten index). The occurrence of Fusarium spp. fungi and the mycotoxins produced by them in the grains was mostly influenced by the harvesting time and meteorological conditions. The correlations between Fusarium species and the mycotoxins produced by them in the grains of spring wheat showed F. graminearum to be a dominant species, and as a result, higher concentrations of DON and ZEA were determined. The co-occurrence of all the three mycotoxins analyzed (deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, and T-2 toxin) was identified in wheat. In rainy years, a delay in harvesting resulted in diminished grain quality of spring wheat, as indicated by grain mass per hectolitre and falling number. Negative correlations were found in highly contaminated grains between mycotoxins (DON, ZEA, and T-2) and falling number and grain mass per hectolitre values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategies for the Control of Fusarium Head Blight in Cereals)
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18 pages, 1459 KiB  
Article
Bacteria Associated with Winter Wheat Degrade Fusarium Mycotoxins and Triazole Fungicide Residues
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1673; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111673 - 29 Oct 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2741
Abstract
Fusarium head blight (FHB) is the most dangerous spike disease of wheat, and triazole fungicides are generally recommended for FHB control. Bacteria isolates obtained from wheat grain were identified as members of the genus Sphingomonas based on 16S rDNA gene sequence analysis. The [...] Read more.
Fusarium head blight (FHB) is the most dangerous spike disease of wheat, and triazole fungicides are generally recommended for FHB control. Bacteria isolates obtained from wheat grain were identified as members of the genus Sphingomonas based on 16S rDNA gene sequence analysis. The degradation of propiconazole and trichothecenes was analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography. Two field experiments were conducted to determine the effectiveness of the biological treatment. All of the tested Sphingomonas isolates produced surfactin. Moreover, all strains were effective in degrading propiconazole and exhibited inhibitory effects on pathogens that cause FHB in wheat. Sphingomonas isolate S11 was selected for the field experiment because it inhibited the development of F. culmorum colonies in vitro by 48.80%, and degraded propiconazole in 15.13% after 48 h. The application of Sphingomonas S11 suspension during the growing season of winter wheat decreased the deoxynivalenol (DON) content of grain inoculated with F. culmorum more than 22-fold. Sphingomonas sp. strain S11 applied after fungicides also decreased the contamination of grain with fungi of the genus Fusarium and their mycotoxins. The analyzed bacteria can be potentially used to protect wheat against FHB pathogens, increase yields and improve grain quality by eliminating dangerous mycotoxins and propiconazole residues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategies for the Control of Fusarium Head Blight in Cereals)
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16 pages, 5704 KiB  
Article
Antifungal Activity of Chitosan Oligomers–Amino Acid Conjugate Complexes against Fusarium culmorum in Spelt (Triticum spelta L.)
Agronomy 2020, 10(9), 1427; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10091427 - 19 Sep 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3274
Abstract
Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a complex disease of cereals caused by Fusarium species, which causes severe damages in terms of yield quality and quantity worldwide, and which produces mycotoxin contamination, posing a serious threat to public health. In the study presented herein, [...] Read more.
Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a complex disease of cereals caused by Fusarium species, which causes severe damages in terms of yield quality and quantity worldwide, and which produces mycotoxin contamination, posing a serious threat to public health. In the study presented herein, the antifungal activity against Fusarium culmorum of chitosan oligomers (COS)–amino acid conjugate complexes was investigated both in vitro and in vivo. The amino acids assayed were cysteine, glycine, proline and tyrosine. In vitro tests showed an enhancement of mycelial growth inhibition, with EC50 and EC90 effective concentration values ranging from 320 to 948 µg·mL−1 and from 1107 to 1407 µg·mL−1 respectively, for the conjugate complexes, as a result of the synergistic behavior between COS and the amino acids, tentatively ascribed to enhanced cell membrane damage originating from lipid peroxidation. Tests on colonies showed a maximum percentage reduction in the number of colonies at 1500 µg·mL−1 concentration, while grain tests were found to inhibit fungal growth, reducing deoxynivalenol content by 89%. The formulation that showed the best performance, i.e., the conjugate complex based on COS and tyrosine, was further investigated in a small-scale field trial with artificially inoculated spelt (Triticum spelta L.), and as a seed treatment to inhibit fungal growth in spelt seedlings. The field experiment showed that the chosen formulation induced a decrease in disease severity, with a control efficacy of 83.5%, while the seed tests showed that the treatment did not affect the percentage of germination and resulted in a lower incidence of root rot caused by the pathogen, albeit with a lower control efficacy (50%). Consequently, the reported conjugate complexes hold enough promise for crop protection applications to deserve further examination in larger field trials, with other Fusarium spp. pathogens and/or Triticum species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategies for the Control of Fusarium Head Blight in Cereals)
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