Molecular and Ecological Studies of Fungal Biodiversity on Durum Wheat Grown in Rotation with Pulses and Canola

by Mavragani, Delia Crina

Abstract (Summary)
Fungi contribute to key processes in the sustainable function of terrestrial ecosystems including nutrient cycling and transport of water to plants. However, some fungal species are of interest because their infection of a susceptible host crop results in diseases negatively affecting food supply and quality. These diseases are expected to be influenced by rotation crops which could impact the development of plant pathogens and their genetic biodiversity. The objectives of this study were to assess the biodiversity of fungal pathogens in durum wheat, to identify the naturally occurring fungi that could have biocontrol potential, and to define the impact of crop rotation with non-cereal crops on fungal populations in durum wheat. For this purpose, in 2004, 2005, and 2006, soil and durum wheat plant samples were collected after preceding crops of Pisum sativum L. (pea), Lens culinaris Medik (lentil), Cicer arietinum L. (chickpea), Brassica napus L. (canola) and Triticum turgidum L. (durum) in a long term experimental site in Swift Current, Sakatchewan. Samples were analyzed using a combination of traditional cultivation techniques and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), sequencing, and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) techniques.

Fusarium species, known as the causal agent of Fusarium head blight (FHB) and Fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) were among the most ubiquitous and abundant in durum tissues. The most prevalent of all Fusarium at the study site were F. avenaceum, F. reticulatum, and F. tricinctum. Other recovered potential fungal pathogens belonged to the genera Bipolaris, Phaeosphaeria, Pyrenophora, Cladosporium, Epicoccum, Alternaria, Cladosporium, Arthrinium, Nigrospora, and Microdochium. Principal component analysis revealed negative correlations between Acremonium, Chaetomium, Penicillium, and pathogenic Fusarium, Bipolaris, Pyrenophora, and Alternaria. These isolates could be antagonistic, and their potential as biocontrol agents against pathogens colonizing durum wheat in the semiarid Saskatchewan should be assessed.

Crop rotation had a limited impact on the abundance of fungal pathogens. Fusarium torulosum was less abundant in durum following canola while Bipolaris sorokiniana was less abundant in durum following pea. Even if no single crop rotation reduced significantly the prevalence of F. avenaceum in durum wheat, results suggest that a successful control of this important pathogen requires an integrated approach using diversified rotations.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Kaminskyj, Susan; Korber, Darren R.; Qiu, Xiao; Vujanovic, Vladimir; Chantal, Hamel

School:University of Saskatchewan

School Location:Canada - Saskatchewan

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:fusarium pyrenophora biodiverssity durum wheat


Date of Publication:07/23/2008

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