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Monitoring Fusarium Crown Rot Populations in Spring Wheat Residues Using Quantitative Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction

January 2010 , Volume 100 , Number  1
Pages  49 - 57

A. C. Hogg, R. H. Johnston, J. A. Johnston, L. Klouser, K. D. Kephart, and A. T. Dyer

First, second, third, fourth, and sixth authors: Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, Montana State University, Bozeman 59717-3150; and fifth author: Department of Research Centers, Southern Agricultural Research Center, Montana State University, Huntley 59037.

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Accepted for publication 23 September 2009.

Caused by a complex of Fusarium species including F. culmorum, F. graminearum, and F. pseudograminearum, Fusarium crown rot (FCR) is an important cereal disease worldwide. For this study, Fusarium population dynamics were examined in spring wheat residues sampled from dryland field locations near Bozeman and Huntley, MT, using a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) Taqman assay that detects F. culmorum, F. graminearum, and F. pseudograminearum. Between August 2005 and June 2007, Fusarium populations and residue decomposition were measured eight times for standing stubble (0 to 20 cm above the soil surface), lower stem (20 to 38 cm), middle stem (38 to 66 cm), and chaff residues. Large Fusarium populations were found in stubble collected in August 2005 from F. pseudograminearum-inoculated plots. These populations declined rapidly over the next 8 months. Remnant Fusarium populations in inoculated stubble were stable relative to residue biomass from April 2006 until June 2007. These two phases of population dynamics were observed at both locations. Relative to inoculated stubble populations, Fusarium populations in other residue fractions and from noninoculated plots were small. In no case were FCR species observed aggressively colonizing noninfested residues based on qPCR data. These results suggest that Fusarium populations are unstable in the first few months after harvest and do not expand into noninfested wheat residues. Fusarium populations remaining after 8 months were stable for at least another 14 months in standing stubble providing significant inoculums for newly sown crops.

Additional keywords:foot rot, residue-borne, survival.

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