Crown rot of wheat and barley

Fusarium pseudograminearum

F. pseudograminearum has a limited host range, only infecting species of wheat and barley. F. pseudograminearum can infect seedlings, but can also infect the crowns of mature wheat hosts. Crown rot of wheat produces asexual structures called conidiospores, which are produced in sporodochium structures inside the stem of the infected host. As the conidiospores germinate and invade the xylem and pith of the stem, both the stem and crown develop a red-brown or white discoloration. The primary infection of the host’s xylem is thought to occur at the crown or lower sheath of the stem from stubble containing a spore and mycelial inoculum. The infection of the xylem leaves the tissue water-soaked and with a pink or salmon color. As the infection proliferates the crown then becomes punky and is ultimately dysfunctional.

Crown Rot of Wheat is an important plant disease that needs to be well managed due to its detrimental effects that it can have on entire fields of wheat. The infection of F. pseudograminearum can develop during stressful water deficits in fields and can spread quickly to other wheat plants, whose symptoms will ultimately lead to plant death.


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