Review on the Status and Management Strategies of Fusarium Head Blight (Fusarium Graminearum) of Wheat

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Fusarium, Management Practices, Mycotoxin, Wheat
Bekele, Belachew; Dawit, Woubit
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Creative Commons License:
Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is counted among the most commonly cultivated cereal crops with over 600 million tons harvested each year. It was already cultivated over a wide range of climates with year round production. It is ranked as the third largest grain crop after corn and rice in terms of world production. In Ethiopia, wheat is one of the major cereal crops grown. It is an important crop commodity, which could contribute a major part in achieving the country's agricultural policy objective of food grain self-sufficiency. The most important constraints affecting wheat production include drought, diseases, insects and weeds. Diseases are the major limiting factors in wheat production, decreasing the yield, quality and profitability for producers. Fusarium head blight (FHB or scab) is common and damaging fungal disease of wheat that causes losses up to 70% and quality and contaminates harvested grain with mycotoxins. It is a serious problem in wheat cultivation. Fusarium head blight (FHB) is caused by one or more Fusarium species, mostly by F. graminearum (Schwabe). FHB infections cause problems concerning the quality of harvested wheat seeds by producing a variety of mycotoxins, of which deoxynivalenol (DON) is perhaps the most famous. If present in food or feed, DON can result in serious health problems. Moreover, the seeds infected with Fusarium not only have a lower 1000 grain weight but also the present Fusarium fungi can infect the seedling after sowing, thus causing less dense plant stand due to seedling blight. In certain years, the availability of uninfected seeds may be limited due to the widespread nature of FHB epidemics. The improvement of FHB resistance has become a major breeding objective worldwide. Environmental conditions have a huge influence on disease development and if prolonged humid weather persists after initial infection, severe FHB will occur. Favorable temperatures for the production of ascospores and macro conidia vary between 16°C to 36°C. Temperature is not the only primary weather condition that determines the severity of the disease, as precipitation appears to be critical in disease development. Individual management options are unlikely to fully protect crops from FHB, therefore multiple strategies (land preparation, varietal resistance, rotation, and fungicide application) provide the best means of maintaining yield potential, reducing the risk of mycotoxin contamination, protecting quality, and enhancing producer returns, but it is difficult due to confounding environmental conditions
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