Look­ing into ce­real health

The lat­est find­ings from the CCDM

Central and North Rural Weekly - - COLUMN -

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

PHOTO: FILE

CROP RE­SEARCH: CCDM’s lat­est study could help re­duce fu­ture yield loss in wheat crops.

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