ABS36405

Investigating the relationship between genotypic diversity and virulence in the fungal wheat pathogens Zymoseptoria tritici and Fusarium graminearum


  • Poster Presentation
  • Poster 29 (Flash Talk: 11 Jun 2018 17:18)
  • Foyer, UCD Agriculture and food science Centre
  • View all IPSAM abstracts

James I. Burke
School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Ireland

Angela Feechan
School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Ireland

Anna M. M. Tiley*
School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Ireland

*Presenting Author


Wheat is the second largest cereal crop in Ireland and constitutes 30% of the 2.6 million tonnes of cereal produced (CSO, 2014). Two of the greatest threats to Irish wheat production are the diseases Septoria Tritici Blotch (STB) and Fusarium Head Blight (FHB), caused by the fungi Zymoseptoria tritici and Fusarium graminearum respectively.

This project forms part of the €17.6 million CONSUS collaborative research partnership between University College Dublin (UCD) and Origin Enterprises PLC and has been supported through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Strategic Partnership Programme. The aim is to use data collected from Z. tritici and F. graminearum field populations to investigate genetic diversity, and identify key virulence genes required for disease. Spore traps have been installed at four sites across the UK, and samples will be collected over a four year period. The spore trap samples are currently being microscopically examined for the presence of Z. tritici, F. graminearum, and other disease-causing fungi. Among the most abundant fungal spore types identified to date are Alternaria spp., Cladosporium spp., Fusarium spp., Didymella spp., and Z. tritici. In addition, DNA has been extracted from the samples and sent for sequencing in order to assess Z. tritici and F. graminearum strain diversity.

The data collected from this project will be used alongside fungal field isolate studies in order to identify key virulence genes in Z. tritici and F. graminearum required for disease. The results from this research will be used to inform future control strategies against these major pathogens of wheat.