Fusarium head blight has emerged as a major threat to wheat and barley crops around the world. This intractable disease presents a range of exasperating complexities rarely seen in any single plant disease. Even the taxonomy of its pathogens has been notoriously confused. Infection by any of several species of Fusarium reduces crop yield and destroys the quality of grain by contaminating it with mycotoxins. After a severe epidemic, even the grain that can be harvested may not be safe to feed livestock.Fusarium Head Blight of Wheat and Barley provides a comprehensive record of current knowledge on the nature of Fusarium head blight, the damage it causes, and current research on how to control it. The book begins with a fascinating historical account of Fusarium head blight epidemics that gives context to recent attempts to control epidemics in wheat and barley. A review of pathogen taxonomy and population biology helps scientists to see relationships among head blight pathogens and other Fusarium species. The extensive information on epidemiology included in this review also provides an understanding of the weather conditions and cultural practices that promote explosive epidemics. New information on infection processes will lead the reader to a better understanding of how to breed for resistance in wheat and barley.The description of mycotoxins and biosynthetic pathways in Fusarium head blight gives researchers a thorough background in the chemistry and biosynthesis of mycotoxins found in Fusarium-infected grain, which may be important in genetic engineering to protect wheat and barley. A review of approaches in breeding for resistance provides cereal breeders and pathologists with comprehensive information on germplasm lines and screening techniques used to breed for head blight resistance throughout the world. The section on resistance also provides researchers with a comprehensive review of biotechnology approaches available for genetic engineering head blight resistance.The book's discussion of chemical and biological control of Fusarium head blight provides current information on the efficacy of fungicides and testing procedures for chemical control and assists researchers in understanding the prospects and limitations of biocontrol approaches to supplement resistance. The review of grain quality assurances and the analysis of economic and social impacts of Fusarium head blight of wheat and barley clearly illustrate how seriously this disease impacts grain marketing and production.Twenty-three researchers from six countries contributed to this substantial update on this deadly disease. Plant pathologists, wheat and barley breeders and geneticists, agronomists, mycologists, cereal chemists, millers, malt producers, and anyone interested in diseases affecting wheat and barley production will value this comprehensive reference book.
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