Validation of a modified Petri-dish test to quantify aggressiveness of Fusarium graminearum in durum wheat
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Fusarium graminearum is a common agent causing Fusarium head blight (FHB) on wheat throughout the world. Aggressiveness is crucial for understanding the interaction between host-pathogen in the FHB-wheat system. In this paper, we modified and validated the Petri-dish test originally described by Mesterhazy (Phytopathologische Zeitschrift 93:12–25, 1978) to quantify the aggressiveness of 25 F. graminearum strains using four durum wheat cultivars with different resistance levels for FHB. The results were highly significant and correlated with those obtained using adult plants in the growth chamber and in the field (r = 0.94, P < 0.001 and r = 0.65, P < 0.001, respectively). The Petri-dish test was further investigated for its repeatability and stability in different durum wheat cultivars and highly significant correlation coefficients were obtained (r = 0.90–0.91 (P < 0.001), 0.89–0.95 (P < 0.001), respectively). In this study, we also demonstrated that germination rate reduction and coleoptile length reduction are parameters involved with aggressiveness of F. graminearum. The mean of three disease parameters from the modified Petri-dish method is introduced in this paper as a new parameter for aggressiveness and named “Petri-dish aggressiveness index”. The results obtained reveal that this modified Petri-dish test is rapid, reliable and stable with different durum wheat cultivars, and yields highly significant correlation coefficients with floret and ear inoculations, thus it is suitable to be used for quantification of aggressiveness of F. graminearum.
KeywordsDurum wheat Fusarium graminearum Aggressiveness Petri-dish test
We thank Dr. L. Covarelli kindly supplying five F. graminearum strains from Umbria, Dr. A. Moretti for the ITEM strain and Dr P.M. McCabe for language revision. Witoon Purahong was founded by an Erasmus Mundus Scholarship (IMaHS) from the University of Bologna.
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