Visit the Fusarium
head scab web page at ARS' Cereal
Disease Laboratory in St. Paul, Minn.
Armed with a half-million dollars in new research money, USDA's
Agricultural Research Service will step
up its attack against a grain fungus that costs growers millions in losses each
ARS will expand research at the Cereal
Disease Laboratory at St. Paul, Minn., where scientists study fungal
diseases of wheat and barley and develop resistant varieties. ARS will upgrade
the lab's facilities, purchase new equipment and fund two new research positions
within the lab.
Research will focus on both short-term and long-term solutions to head scab.
This disease, caused by Fusarium graminearum, caused an estimated $2.6
billion in losses to wheat, rye, barley, and other cereal crops growers in the
Great Plains and Midwest between 1991-1996.
ARS received two separate appropriations for head scab research in the
appropriation signed by the president. The first appropriation of $500,000 will
be distributed to universities cooperating with ARS on scab research. A second
outlay of $450,000 will go directly to ARS' St. Paul lab.
At the St. Paul lab, scientists will take a closer look at the genetic
makeup of the head scab fungus and how it spreads. They'll also expand work on
developing crop varieties that can resist the fungus.
Scientific contact: Kurt Leonard,
Cereal Disease Laboratory, St. Paul,
Minn., phone (612) 625- 5768, fax (612) 649-5054;