Submitted to: National Fusarium Head Blight Forum
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/7/2002
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a devastating disease of wheat and barley that has caused several billion dollars of economic losses during the past decade. The spring wheat region of the U.S., including Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, has been particularly hard hit by this disease, and this has prompted breeding programs to focus on developing more FHB-resistant wheat over the last several years. To monitor progress toward achieving this goal, an analysis of FHB resistance data from the Uniform Regional Scab Nursery for Spring Wheat Parents (URSN), which has been conducted annually since 1995, was undertaken. The average FHB resistance of germplasm entered into the URSN by several public and private entities was calculated for the years 1996-2001 and standardized against the FHB resistance of two FHB-resistant check cultivars, BacUp and ND 2710, that have been included consistently in the URSN. Based upon both of the measures of FHB resistance examined, including disease level and frequency of tombstone kernels, substantial progress has been achieved in enhancing spring wheat germplasm for FHB resistance during the last 7 years. In 1996, the standardized disease index for germplasm entered in the URSN was 216% that of the resistant checks, whereas by 1999 this had dropped to 128%. Similarly, in 1996 the tombstone kernel frequency of the entries was 228% that of the resistant checks, whereas this value dropped to an average of 137% for the period 1997-2001. Most of the gains in FHB resistance achieved can be attributed to the introgression of FHB resistance from the wheat line Sumai 3. It remains to be determined whether FHB resistance in wheat can be improved further by incorporating additional FHB resistance genes from new sources; such research is now underway.