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Evaluation and genetic analysis of resistance to dwarf smut and common bunt disease in wheat

Claire Ferreira

Associated Student, JKI

Even at low levels of infestation, common bunt (Tilletia caries) and dwarf smut (Tilletia controversa) lead to yield losses of up to 40% in wheat and to losses in quality due to impaired smell and taste. This project therefore addresses the improvement of dwarf smut and common bunt resistance in order to enable infestation-free cultivation without prior seed dressing. This is of outstanding importance in organic farming, but is also becoming increasingly relevant in conventional agriculture due to the goal of reducing the use of fungicides.
The project initially focuses on a better understanding of the host-pathogen interaction between smut disease and wheat. Furthermore, with the help of an already genotyped differential set of wheat accessions, resistance genes that are still effective are being identified and the avirulence/virulence pattern of bunt isolates from different environments with different local common bunt isolates will be determined. Highly virulent isolates are being used to inoculate a wheat population consisting of a total of 800 genotypes under controlled conditions. In multi-year and multi-location field trials, wheat accessions from the IPK Gatersleben gene bank are also being examined for common bunt and dwarf bunt under organic farming conditions to evaluate ad map previously unknown bunt resistances from gene bank collections. Based on this information, breeding companies can integrate or pyramid effective resistance genes (including previously known and unknown resistances) into the genetic background of existing varieties. Varieties with broad, environmentally stable resistance can be bred and the sustainable use of different resistance mechanisms can be ensured. The project is a cooperation with breeding companies and research institutes involved in both conventional and organic agriculture (Research & Breeding Dottenfelderhof, KWS Seeds, W. von Borries Eckernorf, Nordic Seeds, Breun, University of Kassel).

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