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Investigating the effect of a plant extract-based product and chitosan on the incidence of Fusarium head blight of wheat

Myriam Deshaies: Auranta

<div>The fungus <em>Fusarium graminearum</em> causes Fusarium head blight of wheat and produces mycotoxins in grains, resulting in up to 50% yield losses. This project aims to investigate the effect of two products on this disease; a plant extract-based product (Auranta Harvest, produced by the company Auranta), and chitosan, a polysaccharide found in fungal cell walls. To determine their impact on the fungal infection, wheat heads were inoculated with <em>F. graminearum</em> spores or Tween-20 at mid-anthesis. The heads were treated one day before or after inoculation with water, Auranta Harvest or chitosan. Infection percentages were assessed at days 7, 14 and 21 post-inoculation, and yield analysis was performed. In pre-inoculation treatments, the area under the disease progression curve was on average 18%-days for the treatments with water and Auranta Harvest, and 8%-days for the chitosan. A significant increase in grain production was observed in plants treated with chitosan. In post-inoculation treatments, the area under the disease progression curve was on average 18, 10 and 8%-days for the treatments with water, Auranta Harvest and chitosan respectively. However no significant increase in yield was observed with any of the treatments. Our results show that Auranta Harvest does not stimulate resistance to infection, but that it may have antifungal activity. We also show that chitosan may enhance resistance against Fusarium head blight, and that it could have an antifungal activity.</div>