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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 #397318

Research Project: Improving Food Safety by Controlling Mycotoxin Contamination and Enhancing Climate Resilience of Wheat and Barley

Location: Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research

Title: Fhb1 disease resistance QTL does not exacerbate wheat grain protein loss at elevated CO2

item Hay, William
item ANDERSON, JAMES - University Of Minnesota
item GARVIN, DAVID - University Of Minnesota
item McCormick, Susan
item Vaughan, Martha

Submitted to: Frontiers in Plant Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/11/2022
Publication Date: 11/28/2022
Citation: Hay, W.T., Anderson, J.A., Garvin, D.F., McCormick, S.P., Vaughan, M.M. 2022. Fhb1 disease resistance QTL does not exacerbate wheat grain protein loss at elevated CO2. Frontiers in Plant Science. 13. Article 1034406.

Interpretive Summary: The fungus Fusarium graminearum causes head blight, a disease of cereal crops that results in significant yield losses and contaminates grain with hazardous mycotoxins making it unfit for food or feed. Fusarium head blight is predicted to worsen with rising atmospheric CO2. Wheat grown at high levels of CO2 produce lower quality grain with more starch but less protein and mineral nutrients. Concerningly, some varieties that are moderately resistant to the disease suffer greater grain protein losses when the wheat is grown at high levels of CO2. It was unclear whether a trait, Fhb1, widely used in breeding programs to improve disease resistance to head blight, was linked to the greater protein loss. ARS researchers in Peoria, Illinois, studied whether Fhb1 impacted crop performance at current and higher levels of carbon dioxide. They found that Fhb1 did not negatively affect wheat growth, development, yield, or grain protein content. This report confirmed that Fhb1 can be used to breed for climate resilient and disease resistant wheat. This study is important for understanding the potential impact of global climate change on future food security.

Technical Abstract: Fusarium head blight, a devastating cereal crop disease, can cause significant yield losses and contaminate grain with hazardous fungal toxins. Concerningly, recent evidence indicates that substantial grain protein content loss is likely to occur in wheat that is moderately resistant to head blight when it is grown at elevated CO2. Although wheat breeders in North America utilize a number of resistance sources and genes to reduce pathogen damage, the Fhb1 gene is widely deployed. To determine whether Fhb1 is associated with the protein content loss at elevated CO2, twelve near-isogenic spring wheat lines from either a susceptible or moderately susceptible genetic background, and with, or without the Fhb1 QTL, were grown at ambient and elevated CO2 conditions. The near-isogenic lines were evaluated for differences in physiology, productivity, and grain protein content. Our results showed that the Fhb1 QTL did not have any significant effect on plant growth, development, yield, or grain protein content at ambient or elevated CO2. Therefore, other factors in the moderately susceptible wheat genetic background are likely responsible for the more severe grain protein loss at elevated CO2.