Title page for ETD etd-05062011-114409

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Keller, Melissa Dawn
Author's Email Address keller23@vt.edu
URN etd-05062011-114409
Title The Contribution of Within-Field Inoculum Sources of Gibberella zeae to Fusarium Head Blight in Winter Wheat and Barley
Degree PhD
Department Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Schmale, David G. III Committee Chair
Baudoin, Antonius B. A. M. Committee Member
Thomason, Wade E. Committee Member
Vinatzer, Boris A. Committee Member
  • Fusarium head blight
  • scab
  • amplified fragment length polymorphism
  • Fusarium graminearum
  • Gibberella zeae
Date of Defense 2011-04-26
Availability unrestricted
Fusarium head blight (FHB) is one of the most economically important diseases of small grains and continues to impact crops when environmental conditions are favorable to Gibberella zeae (Fusarium graminearum), the causal agent of the disease. Corn residues are considered to be primary sources of inoculum for epidemics of FHB. Therefore, knowledge of the movement of Gibberella zeae from a local source of infested corn residue is critical to the management of FHB in wheat and barley. Previous research made significant progress in defining the spatial dissemination of inoculum sources of G. zeae within agricultural fields, but was unable to clearly distinguish between within-field and background sources. Using amplified fragment length polymorphism, released clones of G. zeae were tracked within wheat and barley fields. This strategy allowed the distinction between the contributions of released clones to FHB, compared to that of background inocula. Corn residue infested with clones of G. zeae was placed into small replicated plots in winter wheat fields in New York and Virginia in 2007 and 2008 and wheat spikes were collected at 0, 3, 6, and ≥24 m from the inoculum sources. Recovery of released clones decreased an average of 90% between 3 and 6 m from inoculum sources. Various amounts of corn residue infested with a single clone of G. zeae were placed into small replicated plots in winter wheat and barley fields in Virginia from 2008 to 2010. The use of minimal or conventional tillage and a moderately resistant cultivar of wheat or barley may reduce the contribution of within-field inocula to FHB; however, environmental conditions play an important role in the effectiveness of these management strategies. With the increase of corn production due to incentives for ethanol-based fuel, overwintering sites for G. zeae on corn residue are likely to increase. Our work contributes to an increased understanding of the influence of overwintered corn residue to FHB which will also direct future research on how to reduce the inoculum potential from within-field sources.
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