Evaluation of components of fusarium head blight resistance in soft red winter wheat germ plasm using a detached leaf assay

R. A. Browne, J. P. Murphy, B. M. Cooke, D. Devaney, E. J. Walsh, C. A. Griffey, J. A. Hancock, S. A. Harrison, P. Hart, F. L. Kolb, A. L. McKendry, E. A. Milus, C. Sneller, D. A. Van Sanford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A large environmental influence on phenotypic estimates of disease resistance and the complex polygenic nature of Fusarium head blight (FHB) resistance in wheat (Triticum aestivum) are impediments to developing resistant cultivars. The objective of this research was to investigate the utility of a detached leaf assay, inoculated using inoculum from isolates of Microdochium nivale var. majus, to identify components of FHB resistance among 30 entries of U.S. soft red winter wheat in the 2002 Uniform Southern FHB Nursery (USFHBN). Whole plant FHB resistance of the USFHBN entries was evaluated in replicated, mist-irrigated field trials at 10 locations in eight states during the 2001-2002 season. Incubation period (days from inoculation to the first appearance of a dull gray-green water-soaked lesion) was the only detached leaf variable significantly correlated across all FHB resistance parameters accounting for 45% of the variation in FHB incidence, 27% of FHB severity, 30% of Fusarium damaged kernels, and 26% of the variation in grain deoxynivalenol (DON) concentration. The results for incubation period contrasted with previous studies of moderately resistant European cultivars, in that longer incubation period was correlated with greater FHB susceptibility, but agreed with previous findings for the Chinese cultivar Sumai 3 and CIMMYT germ plasm containing diverse sources of FHB resistance. The results support the view that the detached leaf assay method has potential for use to distinguish between specific sources of FHB resistance when combined with data on FHB reaction and pedigree information. For example, entry 28, a di-haploid line from the cross between the moderately resistant U.S. cultivar Roane and the resistant Chinese line W14, exhibited detached leaf parameters that suggested a combination of both sources of FHB resistance. The USFHBN represents the combination of adapted and exotic germ plasm, but four moderately resistant U.S. commercial cultivars (Roane, McCormick, NC-Neuse, and Pat) had long incubation and latent periods and short lesion lengths in the detached leaf assay as observed in moderately FHB resistant European cultivars. The dichotomy in the relationship between incubation period and FHB resistance indicates that this may need to be considered to effectively combine exotic and existing/adapted sources of FHB resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-411
Number of pages8
JournalPlant disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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