Co-infection of wheat by Pyrenophora tritici - Repentis and Parastagonospora nodorum in the wheatbelt of Western Australia

Araz S. Abdullah, Mark R. Gibberd, John Hamblin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The pathogenic fungal species Pyrenophora tritici-repentis (Ptr) and Parastagonospora nodorum (Pan) are common in many wheat-producing parts of the world. These two fungi cause tan spot and septoria nodorum blotch, respectively, frequently co-infecting wheat leaves. Empirical studies of this and other co-infections are rare because of the visual similarity of symptoms and the lack of robust methods for quantifying the abundance of pathogens associated with the co-infection. Here, we use a recently developed molecular method that simultaneously distinguishes and quantifies, in DNA equivalent, the abundance of Ptr and Pan, thereby allowing the prevalence of co-infection to be determined. The study examines the prevalence of co-infection under field conditions, at three widely spaced sites and on three wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars varying in disease resistance. Co-infection by Ptr and Pan was almost ubiquitous (overall prevalence 94%), and Pan DNA was detected only in association with Ptr. Although Ptr and Pan commonly co-infected, Ptr was more abundant during early and mid-season, at 80% of total fungal abundance when crops were tillering and 67% at booting stage. Pan became as abundant as Ptr when crops reached flowering. Variability in total fungal abundance and disease severity was primarily determined by cultivar however, Ptr was the more abundant despite differences in cultivar resistance to this pathogen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalCrop and Pasture Science
Volume71
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

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