Submitted to: National Fusarium Head Blight Forum Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2007
Publication Date: 12/2/2007
Citation: Srobarova, A., Alexander, N.J. 2007. Population of Fusarium graminearum Schwabe associated with head and seedling blight in Slovakia. National Fusarium Head Blight Forum. p. 36-39. Interpretive Summary: Fusarium graminearum is a mold that causes head and ear blight in wheat and barley throughout the world. Fusarium Head Blight epidemics have been on the increase since 1993 and have caused severe monetary damage for growers and the seed industry. Along with reduced yields, the presence of mycotoxins in moldy grain constitutes a major problem for the grain industry. While F. graminearum is the most prevalent agent of Fusarium Head Blight in the United States, F. culmorum is more prevalent in Europe. During our sampling of mold species in Slovakia over the last 10 years, we have demonstrated a drift in the Slovakian populations from F. culmorum to F. graminearum. Our results show there is a great deal of morphological and genetic variation within F. graminearum which is likely to allow for the species to adapt easily to varying climatic conditions. This research has allowed us to better understand the aggressiveness of this mold and to formulate approaches to reduce Fusarium Head Blight.
Technical Abstract: The growth of Fusarium species associated with Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) varies depending on agronomic characters and edaphic conditions. We have identified 15 Fusarium species during the 10 years of our investigations in the Slovak Republic. The most commonly identified Fusarium species involved in FHB in wheat were F. graminearum Schwabe and F. culmorum (W.G.Smith) Sacc. Both species produce mycotoxins, such as deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN), that can reduce the quality of grain. A recent study we carried out demonstrated a drift in the populations from F. culmorum (W. G. Smith) Sacc. to F. graminearum Schwabe. Our hypothesis is that F. graminearum is a more aggressive species, perhaps by producing more toxin as it invades the plant tissue, perhaps by adapting to climatic conditions better, or perhaps by having some other selective advantage over F. culmorum. Strains of F. graminearum harvested from infected wheat in Slovakia during the years 2000 and 2001 were a source for our study.