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Incidence of important fungal wheat pathogens in western Canada

Araujo, G.T., Amundsen, E., Gaudet, D., Selinger, B.L., Laroche, A. 2016. Incidence of important fungal wheat pathogens in western Canada. 50th Annual Prairie University Biology Symposium, February 18-20, 20116, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB. P1G.

Abstract

Wheat is one of the most important cultivated crops in the world, being worth more than $3 billion annually for the Canadian economy. However, wheat is affected by widespread fungal diseases that can cause severe yield losses and poor quality of the grains. The overall goal of this project is to accurately determine the incidence of the most common airborne wheat fungal pathogens in western Canada. Microscopy, PCR and multiplex qPCR will be used to identify and quantify airborne wheat fungal spores collected during the growing season using sticky slides and spore cyclone collector instruments. We are reporting on the identification and quantification of spores using sticky slides during the 2015 summer. Our preliminary results show that amount of detected spores fluctuates during the growth season and the predominant disease in southern Alberta was stripe rust with about 700 spores/slide detected on July 22 sample date. We will also present our results on validating twelve pathogen-specific primer pairs to identify four wheat pathogenic fungal species and we are working to use them within a single qPCR multiplex-assay. The results suggest that we will be able to identify and quantify these wheat fungal pathogens using a PCR-based assay.

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