Potential threat to global wheat production
Present in the primary wheat production areas of Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay, and recently identified in a small area in northeast Argentina, wheat blast is a potential threat to wheat production worldwide. With implications for food security in developing nations and economic stability in developed nations, rapid response capabilities and effective mitigation measures are needed. A comprehensive wheat blast preparedness plan that includes effective surveillance, accurate diagnostics, a reliable forecasting system, resistant wheat cultivars, and an effective fungicide management strategy is under development. The wheat blast pathogen is Magnaporthe oryzae. Although it is the same fungal species that causes rice blast, the wheat blast pathogen is a distinct population of M. oryzae (referred as M. oryzae Triticum population) and does not cause disease in rice.
Researchers at Kansas State University have partnered with scientists from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service to study this emerging disease of wheat. Dr. Barbara Valent, Project Director and international authority on Magnaporthe oryzae, is providing the leadership for this important international collaboration. Scientists and wheat industry specialists from Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay are collaborating on the project providing expertise and assistance with field trials in South America. This site provides information about Wheat Blast and the results of the wheat blast research project. Feel free to contact us with any questions that you may have.
This project was supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2009-55605-05201 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.