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Keywords:

  • deoxynivalenol;
  • Fusarium graminearum;
  • resistance;
  • tolerance;
  • winter wheat

In Europe and North America, deoxynivalenol (DON) is the most prevalent mycotoxin associated with wheat head blight caused by Fusarium graminearum and Fusarium culmorum. Because DON is toxic to plants and enhances the ability of the pathogen to spread within a spike, wheat lines with resistance to DON should be more resistant to head blight. Resistance to DON has been associated with resistance gene Fhb1 that confers resistance to spread within a spike. The objectives of this study were to determine if wheat lines resistant to head blight were also resistant to DON, if genes other than Fhb1 confer resistance to DON, and to identify lines able to fill grain in the presence of DON. Susceptible controls and diverse North American and European winter wheat lines with resistance to head blight were screened for molecular markers linked to known head blight resistance genes, and evaluated in a greenhouse for resistance to DON and relative yield after application of DON to spikes at flowering. Fhb1 appeared to have the unique ability to confer resistance to DON, as measured by the number of DON-bleached primary florets. However, this resistance did not protect plants from the phytotoxic effects of DON on kernel formation as measured by the relative yield of treated spikes. Furthermore, measuring the relative yield loss following DON application may be useful for identifying lines with tolerance to head blight.