Developing strategies to control powdery mildew in oats

  • Oral Presentation
  • Plant Pathology
  • 12 Jun 2018 12:50
  • FS-G01, UCD Agriculture and food science Centre
  • View all IPSAM abstracts

Aisling Reilly*
University College Dublin

Steven Kildea

John Finnan

Angela Feechan
University College Dublin

*Presenting Author

There has been increased interest in the cultivation of oats in Ireland in recent years. This interest in oat-based products is due to growing knowledge and awareness of the health and nutritional benefits of oat grains for human, as well as animal, consumption. However, oat yields are impacted by pathogens, with estimated losses of up to 30% of total crop yield (Okon et al., 2018). Powdery mildew, caused by Blumeria graminis f.sp. avenae, is one of the most important foliar diseases of common oat.

The aim of this research is to characterize the mechanisms used by oat plants to defend against powdery mildew infection. Microscopic assessment of Blumeria graminis f.sp. avenae infection in various oat cultivars followed by a number of field trails are being carried out. The preliminary results suggest that most commercial oat cultivars studied are susceptible to powdery mildew infection. However, some commercial cultivars have shown near-complete resistance to powdery mildew in the field, despite showing high susceptibility during microscopic analysis. Irish oat heritage lines will also be screened for powdery mildew susceptibility through a similar approach.

In addition, this research will also seek to identify the powdery mildew susceptibility-gene candidates, mildew locus O (MLO) from oats. Using primers designed from regions highly conserved between wheat and barley MLO sequences, a potential oat MLO candidate has been cloned.

Identifying resistant oat cultivars and understanding the MLO gene family could be used in oat breeding programmes to improve levels of resistance to powdery mildew.