Crown rot of wheat, caused by the fungus Fusarium pseudograminearum is a major soil-borne disease which occurs across Australia. Annual losses in farm revenue exceed $79 million annually. The Biotechnology group has identified chromosomal regions in particular cereal varieties which provide partial resistance against this disease. Molecular markers in these regions are now being further developed to assist efficient selection of resistant lines in breeding programs.
Crown rot is also a major restraint on production for durum wheat growers in Australia. To date, all commercial varieties are susceptible to this disease and tetraploid sources of resistance suitable for backcrossing into elite backgrounds are yet to be validated. Crosses have been made between partially resistant hexaploid wheat and tetraploid durum lines with the goal of transferring hexaploid resistance into durums. We are investigating the transfer and subsequent expression of the hexaploid crown rot resistance loci in durum wheats. Durum lines expressing disease resistance will be rapidly incorporated into durum breeding programs leading to varieties with improved disease resistance.
Prof Mark Sutherland, Dr Anke Martin and Dr Noel Knight
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