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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #326612

Title: Climate change impacts on the ecology of Fusarium graminearum species complex and susceptibility of wheat to Fusarium head blight: a review

item Vaughan, Martha
item BACKHOUSE, D - University Of New England
item DEL PONTE, E - Federal University - Brazil

Submitted to: World Mycotoxin Journal
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2016
Publication Date: 9/7/2016
Citation: Vaughan, M., Backhouse, D., Del Ponte, E.M. 2016. Climate change impacts on the ecology of Fusarium graminearum species complex and susceptibility of wheat to Fusarium head blight: a review. World Mycotoxin Journal. 9(5):685-700.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Fusarium head blight (FHB) of wheat caused mainly by members of the Fusarium graminearum species complex (FGSC) is a major threat to agricultural grain production, food safety, and animal health. The severity of disease epidemics and accumulation of associated trichothecene mycotoxins in wheat kernels is strongly driven by climatic factors. The potential impacts of change in climate are reviewed from the perspective of the fungal life cycle and host resistance mechanisms influenced by abiotic pressures at the ecological, physiological and molecular level. Alterations in climate patterns and cropping systems may affect the distribution, composition and load of FGSC inoculum, but quantitative information is lacking regarding the differential responses among FGSC members. In general, the coincidence of wet and warm environment during flowering enhances the risk of FHB epidemics, but the magnitude and direction of the change in FHB and mycotoxin risk will be a consequence of a multitude of effects on key processes affecting inoculum dynamics and host susceptibility. Rates of residue decomposition, inoculum production and dispersal may be significantly altered by changes in crop rotations, temperature and precipitation patterns, but the impact may be much greater for regions where inoculum is more limited such as temperate climates. In regions of non-limiting inoculum, climate change effects will likely be greater on the pathogenic rather than on the saprophytic phase. Although the mechanisms by which abiotic stress influences wheat defenses against Fusarium species are unknown, available data would suggest that wheat may be more susceptible to Fusarium infection under future climate conditions. Additional research in this area should be a priority so that breeding efforts and climate resilient management strategies can be developed.