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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Crop Bioprotection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #342703

Research Project: Development of New Production Methodologies for Biocontrol Agents and Fastidious Microbes to Improve Plant Disease Management

Location: Crop Bioprotection Research

Title: Molecules that inhibit growth of Fusarium graminearum, a pathogen causing disease in wheat and corn

item Johnson, Eric
item Evans, Kervin
item Dowd, Patrick

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/13/2017
Publication Date: 9/13/2017
Citation: Johnson, E.T., Evans, K.O., Dowd, P.F. 2017. Molecules that inhibit growth of Fusarium graminearum, a pathogen causing disease in wheat and corn. Meeting Abstract.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Fusarium graminearum can cause head blight in wheat and stalk or ear rot in corn, which results in crop losses. Discovery of novel antifungal resistance proteins are crucial to mitigating crop losses. We found, via in vitro studies, a small cationic peptide was capable of inhibiting the growth of this pathogen. The peptide is also capable of inhibiting Fusarium verticillioides and Colletotrichum graminicola. Most F. graminearum conidia were killed within 6 hours of treatment with 50 µg per ml of the peptide. Liposome experiments indicated the peptide likely causes leakage of fungal membranes. The severity of F. graminearum infections can be reduced by augmenting plant resistance; the characterization of plant resistance genes is an essential first step. Towards this end, a maize peroxidase gene associated with resistance to Aspergillus flavus was cloned and overexpressed in maize callus tissue. The higher peroxidase activity in the callus resulted in slower growth rates of colonizing F. graminearum conidia compared to control callus. This peroxidase gene could be utilized in traditional breeding programs or transgenically expressed in corn for progeny with greater resistance to this pathogen.