Unraveling the genetic mechanisms underlying ergot resistance in durum wheat
Dr. Yuefeng Ruan. AAFC Swift Current
Start Date: April 1, 2021
End Date: January 15, 2024
AWC’s funding: $60,000
Current commercial varieties of Durum wheat [Triticum turgidum L. subsp. durum (Desf.)] are susceptible to ergot, a disease that causes downgrading of grain of this major crop. Ergot infection alone does not usually cause significant yield loss, but highly toxic alkaloids contained in the ergot sclerotia leads to grain downgrading or in severe cases, rejection at the elevator causing financial loss to growers. In 1999, there was an outbreak of ergot in Saskatchewan where 4% of Canada Western Amber Durum (CWAD) wheat samples delivered to elevators were infested with ergot sclerotia. A similar outbreak occurred in Manitoba in 2005, followed by outbreaks in 2008 and 2011 in all three Prairie provinces with the most consistently high levels being seen in Alberta. In Saskatchewan in 2008, 14% of CWAD samples were infested with ergot and 14% in 2011.
The objectives include:
1. Identification of genetic markers associated with ergot resistance factors in durum wheat.
2. Introgression of ergot resistance genes into adapted durum germplasm
3. To gain insight into the molecular basis of ergot resistance
4. Canadian Light Source molecular determinants of ergot resistance.