Wheat blast is a potential threat to wheat production throughout the world. Whether the wheat blast pathogen, Magnaporthe oryzae (Triticum population), will be introduced to the U.S., become established, spread, and cause damage is unknown. However, populations of M. oryzae that cause diseases in rice and in ryegrasses occur throughout the U.S. It is important that we develop a preparedness plan and the tools necessary to detect the wheat blast pathogen and mitigate the disease it causes.
The overall goal of this project is to prepare for a possible introduction of wheat blast into the U.S. Through collaboration among scientists at Kansas State University and the USDA Agricultural Research Service at Fort Detrick, Maryland the following specific objectives will be addressed:
- Identify resistance resources
- Field test in SA
- We will develop the tools necessary to support rapid disease detection and control. The DNA sequence for specific strains of the wheat blast pathogen will be determined. Through analysis of the pathogen's genome, unique DNA sequences, genes, or regions of diagnostic value will be identified. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and real-time PCR diagnostic protocols to facilitate identification of the wheat blast pathogen will be developed and validated using strain from the rice and ryegrass populations for comparison.
- Diagnosticians from plant clinics and laboratories around the U.S. will be trained in the use of the diagnostic protocols. The National Plant Diagnostic Network will be used as a vehicle to raise awareness about wheat blast, to convey the results of this project, and to deploy the diagnostic protocols necessary to ensure accurate diagnosis of wheat blast and identification of the wheat blast pathogen should a wheat blast outbreak occur in the U.S.
- Training sessions for first detectors (wheat specialists) from wheat states in the U.S. will be conducted to raise awareness about wheat blast, to convey the results of this project, and to provide the information and experience necessary to ensure early detection of wheat blast outbreaks, should they occur.
- Workshops to train students, decision-makers and responders in plant biosecurity issues, and . Collaboration with Brazilian colleagues who are currently working on wheat blast control will speed our progress and promote international communication and co-operation on shared biosecurity threats.