Biotech Updates

New Fusarium Chemotype Tightens FHB Tolerance Levels

July 23, 2010

Mycotoxin contamination in wheat is a big problem of the industry in Canada. The mycotoxins are produced by the fusarium head blight Fusarium graminearum. A level of fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) has been established for the wheat harvest in the country based on the mycotoxin produced by the traditional chemotype or strain of F. graminearum 15 ADON.

Recently, a new chemotype of the fungus was discovered by Kelly Turkington of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Randall Clear of the Canadian Grain Commission. The new chemotype produces twice as much toxin as the 15 ADON chemotype in the laboratory. Genetic studies have shown that the two chemotypes are entirely distinct from each other but are both sensitive to tebuconazole, the active ingredient of fungicide Folicur. The Commission however has to increase the threshold level of FDK due to the more virulent chemotype.

"The research illustrates to pathologists, breeders and farmers that these plant disease issues we deal with are not static. They change from within the population itself, or from new pathogens introduced into our cropping systems. So we need to be vigilant in terms of monitoring our crops, to stay on top of these issues before they hit the farmer in the pocketbook," Turkington says.

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