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Research Project: Genetic Improvement of Small Grains for Biotic and Abiotic Stress Tolerance and Characterization of Pathogen Populations

Location: Plant Science Research

Title: Understanding yield loss and pathogen biology to improve disease management: Stagonospora nodorum blotch - a case study in wheat

Author
item FICKE, ANDREA - Norwegian Institute Of Bioeconomy Research(NIBIO)
item Cowger, Christina
item BERGSTROM, GARY - Cornell University - New York
item BRODAL, GURO - Norwegian Institute Of Bioeconomy Research(NIBIO)

Submitted to: Plant Disease
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/27/2017
Publication Date: 3/10/2018
Citation: Ficke, A., Cowger, C., Bergstrom, G., Brodal, G. 2018. Understanding yield loss and pathogen biology to improve disease management: Stagonospora nodorum blotch - a case study in wheat. Plant Disease. 102:696-707.

Interpretive Summary: The estimated potential yield losses caused by plant pathogens are up to 16% globally, and most research in plant pathology aims to reduce yield loss in crops directly or indirectly. Yield losses caused by a plant pathogen depend not only on disease severity, but also on weather factors, the pathogen’s aggressiveness and the ability of the crop to compensate for reduced photosynthetic area. Estimating yield losses is essential to determine disease management thresholds at which fungicide applications, crop rotation, or use of resistant varieties are economically and environmentally sensible. In many countries, integrated pest management (IPM) is legally required to be based on economic thresholds at which disease costs justify the costs of management. Here we focus on Stagonospora nodorum blotch (SNB) of wheat as an example of a stubble-born, seed-transmitted disease with a world-wide distribution that causes substantial yield losses. The fungal pathogen, Parastagonospora nodorum, is a model organism for molecular studies on host-pathogen interactions. Here, we analyze what is known about the biology of this common wheat pathogen, the yield loss it reportedly has caused, and the effect of control strategies to reduce this loss. Based on this analysis, we evaluate the use of common management practices to reduce disease-related yield loss and identify related research needs.

Technical Abstract: The estimated potential yield losses caused by plant pathogens are up to 16% globally, and most research in plant pathology aims to reduce yield loss in crops directly or indirectly. Yield losses caused by a certain disease depend not only on disease severity, but also on weather factors, the pathogen’s aggressiveness and the ability of the crop to compensate for reduced photosynthetic area. Estimating yield losses is essential to determine disease management thresholds at which acute control measures such as fungicide applications, or strategic measures such as crop rotation or use of resistant varieties, are economically and environmentally sensible. Legislation in many countries enforces implementation of integrated pest management (IPM), based on economic thresholds at which the costs due to a disease justify the costs for its management. Wheat is one of the most important staple foods world-wide and susceptible to several important plant diseases. We focus on Stagonospora nodorum blotch (SNB) of wheat as an example of a stubble-born, seed-transmitted disease with a world-wide distribution causing considerable and regular yield losses. The causal fungus, Parastagonospora nodorum, serves as a model organism for molecular studies on the intimate relationship between necrotrophic effector-producing fungal strains and their corresponding sensitivity genes in wheat. Here, we analyze the literature on the biology of this common wheat pathogen, the yield loss it reportedly has caused and the effect of control strategies to reduce this loss. Based on this analysis, we evaluate the use of common management practices to reduce disease-related yield loss and identify related research needs.