The association between Fusarium head blight (FHB) intensity and deoxynivalenol (DON) accumulation in harvested grain is not fully understood. A quantitative review of research findings was performed to determine if there was a consistent and significant relationship between measures of Fusarium head blight intensity and DON in harvested wheat grain. Results from published and unpublished studies reporting correlations between DON and Fusarium head blight “index” (IND; field or plot-level disease severity), incidence (INC), diseased-head severity (DHS), and Fusarium-damaged kernels (FDK) were analyzed using meta-analysis to determine the overall magnitude, significance, and precision of these associations. A total of 163 studies was analyzed, with estimated correlation coefficients (r) between -0.58 and 0.99. More than 65% of all r values were >0.50, whereas less that 7% were <0. The overall mean correlation coefficients for all relationships between DON and disease intensity were significantly different from zero (P < 0.001). Based on the analysis of Fisher-transformed r values ( zr values), FDK had the strongest relationship with DON, with a mean r of 0.73, followed by IND (r = 0.62), DHS (r = 0.53), and INC (r = 0.52). The mean difference between pairs of transformed zr values (zd ) was significantly different from zero for all pairwise comparisons, except the comparison between INC and DHS. Transformed correlations were significantly affected by wheat type (spring versus winter wheat), study type (fungicide versus genotype trials), and study location (U.S. spring- and winter-wheat-growing regions, and other wheat-growing regions). The strongest correlations were observed in studies with spring wheat cultivars, in fungicide trials, and in studies conducted in U.S. spring-wheat-growing regions. There were minor effects of magnitude of disease intensity (and indirectly, environment) on the transformed correlations.
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