Crown rot of wheat in Australia: Fusarium pseudograminearum taxonomy, population biology and disease management

Fusarium pseudograminearum (Fp) causes crown rot (CR) on a wide range of winter cereals reducing yield and grain quality in Australia and worldwide. The broad range of host species presents a major challenge for cropping systems, affecting productivity of the barley, wheat, oats and durum wheat industries. The frequency of disease severity and prevalence in Australia has notably increased with the introduction of minimum tillage cropping practices, less frequent precipitation events during the growing season and more frequent heat-waves due to climate change. This has resulted in exacerbation of CR symptoms. For more than 30 years CR has been considered the most significant fungal disease of temperate cereal crops in Queensland and northern New South Wales. In this review, we discuss the disease, the underlying pathogen biology and key control strategies to reduce the impact of this damaging pathogen. While good progress has been made to identify sources of genetic resistance, we also highlight the opportunity to investigate physiological traits for improved water-use efficiency, such as deep root systems or stay-green, which could minimise yield and grain quality losses due to CR.

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DFW Organisation NIAB
DFW Work Package 3
DOI 10.1007/s13313-018-0554-z
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