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Virulent Fusarium Most Prevalent in Western Canada

12 May 2011
University of Manitoba

CANADA - A plant pathologist with the University of Manitoba reports a new more virulent strain of fusarium head blight has become the dominant strain in western Canada.

Fusarium head blight is a fungal infection that attacks cereal grains, particularly wheat and barley as well as oats and corn.

Fusarium graminearium, the most prevalent strain of fusarium in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, produces deoxynivalenol, or DON, a mycotoxin that reduces the end use quality of grains used for human and animal consumption.

Dr. Dilantha Fernando, a cereal and canola pathologist with the University of Manitoba, says 3 Acetyl or 3-A DON, a more virulent chemotype which produces more of the mycotoxin, has displaced 15-A DON as the most predominant chemotype in Manitoba.

Dr. Dilantha Fernando, University of Manitoba said:

"The 3 Acetyl DON producers were more prevalent in the east part of Canada and also some of the states just south of us like North Dakota and we are now experiencing a rapid change to the 3 Acetyl DON producers.

Some of the data that we have from 2010 clearly shows that the 3-A DON isolates or strains are at about 88 percent in prevalence compared to 13 percent of the 15 Acetyl DON which is alarming because earlier it was about 30 percent of the 3 Acetyl DON producers.

It caught up to about 50-50 in the 2007-2008 seasons and within these three seasons it has now changed to be dramatically the 3 Acetyl DON producers that are more prevalent."

Dr. Fernando says, in the absence of fusarium resistant grains, growers are advised to consider other fusarium management strategies including rotations with non-host crops to reduce inoculum levels in the fields, the use of full tillage and fungicide applications.

TheCropSite News Desk

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