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Poster: Biology & Disease Mgmt: Biological Control


Stopping the cereal killer: exploring biological control to mitigate Fusarium head blight of wheat
A. BEHARI (1), G. Kuldau (1) (1) Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A.

Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a devastating fungal disease impacting wheat and other cereal production globally. Exacerbating the impact of disease is the in planta production of the toxic fungal secondary metabolite and virulence factor, deoxynivalenol (DON). DON is an inhibitor of the eukaryotic ribosome thereby blocking protein translation, and in toxicological studies has been found to affect the gastrointestinal, immune, and endocrine systems of humans and animals. Preventing DON accumulation in grain ultimately begins with preventing infection by FHB causing Fusarium species. Current mitigation strategies to combat FHB include the use of moderately resistant varieties of wheat, crop rotations with non-hosts, and fungicides, but even in conjunction these strategies provide only minimal to moderate control when environmental conditions are conducive to disease. This research aims to identify and characterize biological control agents to mitigate FHB through media based screening of samples from different production systems and geographic locations for Fusarium graminearum inhibiting and DON degrading microbes. Exploring multiple sources including various soils, plant material, silage, and haylage will allow for a diverse range of microbes exhibiting the aforementioned capabilities to be studied for their specific mechanisms, potential common genetic basis, and potential use in microbial consortia for disease control.