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WheatFACE: Phenotypic and genetic determinants for adaptation of winter wheat to increasing CO2 concentrations using leaf rust as an example

Jasper Krößmann

Associated Student, JKI

Common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is an important crop worldwide, but leaf rust infections caused by Puccinia triticina can cause significant yield losses. Breeding resistant varieties is the most effective and environmentally friendly strategy to safeguard yields.
As atmospheric CO2 concentrations have doubled since pre-industrial times and are expected to rise further, the WheatFACE project is investigating the effect of elevated CO2 (eCO2) on resistance in winter wheat. It is investigating whether eCO2 increases susceptibility, possibly through increased CO2-driven biomass growth, or reduces fungal invasion through factors such as closed stomata or improved plant resistance. Two winter wheat populations (200 and 370 genotypes) will be exposed to different CO2 concentrations (410 ppm vs. 800 ppm) and inoculated with aggressive leaf rust isolates under greenhouse conditions.
Evaluation includes manual and digital quantification of leaf rust infection. The results shed light on how eCO2 influences the extent and intensity of leaf rust infection. Twelve contrasting cultivars with different resistance behaviour under different CO2 concentrations were selected for cultivation in a Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) facility over two years.

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