, Volume 109, Issue 7, pp 683-689

Effects of Environmental Conditions on the Development of Fusarium Ear Blight

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Abstract

Recent research on the epidemiology of Fusarium ear (or head) blight (FEB or FHB) of small-grain cereals is reviewed, focusing on inoculum, infection and disease forecasting. Both conidia and ascospores have been shown to be important for causing FEB. For Fusarium graminearum, propagules from crop debris are the main source of initial inoculum. Inoculum production is critically dependent on rainfall although the precise relationship is not clear. Recent work on understanding the effects of climatic variables on FEB development has been based on field observations. These field-based studies confirmed that warm and moist conditions during anthesis are the key factors for FEB development. Several empirical models were derived from the field data and proposed for use in disease forecasting. However, these models may not be applicable to a broader range of areas because of the limited nature of the field data. Several areas are proposed for future research, focusing on the development of more generally applicable forecasting models and on understanding the relationships between disease severity, fungal biomass and the production of associated mycotoxins.