First, second, third, fifth, and sixth authors: Department of Plant Pathology, 306 Walster Hall, and fourth author: Department of Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences, Van Es Hall, North Dakota State University, Fargo 58105.
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Accepted for publication 2 February 2007.
Fusarium graminearum causes Fusarium head blight (FHB) in small grains worldwide. Although primarily a pathogen of cereals, it also can infect noncereal crops such as potato and sugar beet in the United States. We used a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method based on intergenic sequences specific to the trichodiene synthase gene (Tri5) from F. graminearum. TaqMan probe and primers were designed and used to estimate DNA content of the pathogen (FgDNA) in the susceptible wheat cv. Grandin after inoculation with the 21 isolates of F. graminearum collected from potato, sugar beet, and wheat. The presence of nine mycotoxins was analyzed in the inoculated wheat heads by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. All isolates contained the Tri5 gene and were virulent to cv. Grandin. Isolates of F. graminearum differed significantly in virulence (expressed as disease severity), FgDNA content, and mycotoxin accumulation. Potato isolates showed greater variability in producing different mycotoxins than sugar beet and wheat isolates. Correlation analysis showed a significant (P < 0.001) positive relationship between FgDNA content and FHB severity or deoxynivalenol (DON) production. Moreover, a significant (P < 0.001) positive correlation between FHB severity and DON content was observed. Our findings revealed that F. graminearum causing potato dry rot and sugar beet decay could be potential sources of inoculum for FHB epidemics in wheat. Real-time PCR assay provides sensitive and accurate quantification of F. graminearum in wheat and can be useful for monitoring the colonization of wheat grains by F. graminearum in controlled environments, and evaluating wheat germplasms for resistance to FHB.
© 2007 The American Phytopathological Society