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Effect of Climate on the Distribution of Fusarium spp. Causing Crown Rot of Wheat in the Pacific Northwest of the United States

November 2013 , Volume 103 , Number  11
Pages  1,130 - 1,140

Grant J. Poole, Richard W. Smiley, Carl Walker, David Huggins, Richard Rupp, John Abatzoglou, Kimberly Garland-Campbell, and Timothy C. Paulitz

First, third, and fifth authors: Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, P.O. Box 6420, Pullman 99164-6420; second author: Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center, Oregon State University, P.O. Box 370, Pendleton 97801; fourth author: United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) Land Management and Water Conservation Research Unit, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University; sixth author: Department of Geography, University of Idaho, P.O. Box 443021, Moscow 83844-3021; seventh author: USDA-ARS Wheat Genetics, Quality, Physiology and Disease Research Unit, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University; and eighth author: USDA-ARS, Root Disease Unit and Biological Control Research Unit, Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University.

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Accepted for publication 15 May 2013.

Fusarium crown rot (FCR) is one of the most widespread root and crown diseases of wheat in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) of the United States. Our objectives were to characterize crown rot severity and distribution throughout the PNW by conducting a survey of 210 fields covering the diverse dryland wheat-producing areas of Washington and Oregon and to utilize a factor analysis statistical approach to determine the effects of climate and geography on species distribution and disease severity. Climatic variables were based on 30-year averages and 2008 and 2009 separately (the 2 years of the survey). Mean annual temperature, mean temperature in the coldest month, mean temperature in the warmest month, mean annual precipitation, snowfall, elevation, soil type, and cropping intensity were highly intercorrelated. The factor analysis of the climate variables resulted in the development of two latent factors that could be used as predictor variables in logistic regression models for the presence or absence of Fusarium spp. and of FCR disease scores. Isolates of Fusarium spp. were recovered from 99% of 105 fields sampled in 2008 and 97% of fields in 2009. There were differences between years for responses of FCR and nodes scores, and isolations of Fusarium pseudograminearum with more significant results in 2008, due to warmer drier weather. Results of the factor analysis showed that the distribution of F. pseudograminearum occurred in a greater frequency in areas of the PNW at lower elevations with lower moisture and higher temperatures in 2008, whereas F. culmorum occurred in greater frequency in areas at higher elevations with moderate to high moisture and cooler temperatures consistently across both years. Disease scores increased with increasing levels of factors 1 (primarily temperature) and 2 (primarily precipitation). Both the frequency of pathogen species and disease scores were influenced by the year, indicating that soilborne pathogens are responsive to short-term changes in environment. This factor analysis approach can be utilized in studies to determine the effects of climate and other environmental (soil, cropping system, and so on) factors on the distribution and severity of root diseases.

Additional keywords: Fusarium culmorum.

This article is in the public domain and not copyrightable. It may be freely reprinted with customary crediting of the source. The American Phytopathological Society, 2013.