Looking into cereal health
The latest findings from the CCDM
AUSTRALIAN cereal breeders are set to benefit from new research being undertaken by the Centre for Crop and Disease Management, as part of an international collaboration looking at septoria nodorum blotch in wheat.
The collaboration between United Kingdom-based plant science institute – the National Institute of Agricultural Botany – and the CCDM has revealed new information about the sensitivity of European elite wheat lines to the SNB-causing pathogen Parastagonospora nodorum, which could prove useful for Australian breeders wanting to remove susceptibility to the disease from their cultivars.
The study identified 10 significant genetic markers for the disease and worked to validate them across 480 predominantly UK winter wheat varieties.
Researchers from the CCDM – a co-investment by Curtin University and the Grains Research and Development Corporation – are now also validating these markers on major Australian wheat cultivars.
“This research is part of the ongoing work of the CCDM to break down the host-pathogen interactions that cause SNB in wheat,” CCDM’s Kar-Chun Tan said. “These studies provide valuable information for us to share with Australian breeders so they can screen for disease-resistant varieties, target their breeding and eliminate host sensitivity to diseases on an effector-by-effector basis.”
SNB is a disease of significant economic importance in many wheat-growing regions around the world. It causes an estimated $108 million a year in yield loss to the Australian wheat industry.
The visible symptoms of this disease include the formation of lesions on and discolouration of the leaf tissue. These lesions reduce the amount of leaf surface capable of photosynthesis.
To successfully mount an infection, the SNB-causing pathogen secretes effectors to cause tissue death on wheat varieties that carry a particular genetic background.
Tox3 is a major effector produced by it, and sensitivity to the effector in wheat is linked to the presence of the Snn3 gene, which has not yet been identified.
“The study was able to identify 10 significant genetic markers that are linked to Snn3. This includes one which was validated as a reliable diagnostic tool that can be used to differentiate wheat varieties with and without the Snn3 gene,” Dr Tan said.
❝studies These provide valuable information for us to share with Australian breeders... — Kar-Chun Tan
CROP RESEARCH: CCDM’s latest study could help reduce future yield loss in wheat crops.