The Crop Biotechnology group mainly focuses on barley diseases which are high priorities in the Northern Region of the Australian grain belt, including spot blotch and common root rot (caused by Bipolaris sorokiniana) and net and spot form of net blotch (caused by Pyrenophora teres). Our goal is to identify reliable DNA-based markers for chromosomal regions which contribute to disease resistance, which can be used to screen large numbers of breeding lines in the field. We are also conducting genetic diversity analyses of these pathogens using isolates collected across Australia.
Another area of interest is the association of black point with B. sorokiniana. Black point is a dark discolouration of the embryo end of barley grains and can result in reduced grain quality and value. Some studies overseas have indicated that symptoms in barley are associated with the presence of particular fungi on the grain, however in Australia this association has not been confirmed. We are using quantitative PCR to investigate the presence of fungal DNA in black pointed grain.
Prof Mark Sutherland , Dr Anke Martin, and Maree Horne
Grains Research & Development Corporation
Leslie Research Centre, Queensland Department of Primary Industries
Hermitage Research Centre Warwick, Queensland Department of Primary Industries
Tamworth Research Institute, NSW Department of Primary Industries
Victorian Department of Primary Industries
CenGen (Pty) Ltd, South Africa