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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Using Biochemistry to Fight Fusarium in Barley

Authors
item Jones, Berne
item Skadsen, Ronald
item Nuutila, Anna - UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN

Submitted to: Cereal Foods World
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 13, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: We are using biochemistry, in concert with plant transformation, to help develop barley lines that are resistant to Fusarium head blight (scab). We have tested various low-molecular-weight proteins for toxicity to cultured Fusarium graminearum and have found that at least two are very toxic. One of these occurs naturally in barley seeds and would thus not be an 'unnatural' addition that might attract consumer objections. We are presently trying to develop a system whereby we can transform barley plants so that this toxic protein is expressed in tissues where it can impede or inhibit the ability of Fusarium to attack plants. In addition, we have transformed barley with the gene coding for the protein permatin. This protein is toxic to some fungi and it may inhibit Fusarium growth in grains by perforating the fungal hyphae. We have transformed barley plants with the permatin gene and will soon be testing the progeny for the presence of the transgenic protein. We are also investigating whether there are compounds in barley that can interact with the Fusarium enzymes to weaken or eliminate the ability of the fungus to successfully attack cereal plants. We have indications that such interacting compounds do exist, but do not yet know whether they will impede the Fusarium attack.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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