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Wheat Blast

Potential threat to global wheat production

blasted headPresent 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.

Cultivars Showing Some Resistance

The wheat cultivars on this list are commonly grown in the Central Plains area of the United States. The disease severity ratings are based upon inoculation studies carried out in biocontainment laboratories at the Biosecurity Research Institute on the Kansas State University campus. Several cultivars had significantly reduced severity of wheat blast when inoculated with a single strain/race of the wheat blast pathogen. However, there are many different races of wheat blast fungus in South America. Additional studies are needed to determine if these cultivars will be resistant to other races of the wheat blast pathogen.

Restiant Cultivars 2015


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This project was supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants no. 2009-55605-05201 and 2013-68004-20378 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


News & Events:

Plant biosecurity course combats Wheat Blast

Wheat Blast Detected in Kentucky.

Wheat Blast discussed at recent NCERA 184 Meeting.

Dr. Jose MauricioFernandes of EMBRAPA visit to K-State a big success.

Wheat Blast Team Submits Proposal to Continue Research.

2011-2012 Field Trial in Bolivia Completed.


Video Links

GPDN Webinar Series 2014- Wheat Blast: An Emerging Disease in South America

NEW PORTUGUESE VIDEO-Brusone do Trigo: Uma Ameaça Emergente ao Trigo

NEW SPANISH VIDEO-Piricularia del Trigo: Una Amenaza Emergente

Wheat Blast: An Emerging Threat to Wheat

Dr. Barbara Valent speaks on The Fight Against Wheat Blast

Dr. James Stack discusses Plant Biosecurity

USDA releases Invasive Species Public Service Announcement