Fusarium poae

Fusarium poae: chemotype, plant-pathogen interaction and response to oxidative stress triggers

Fusarium Head Blight is a devastating small-cereal disease, affecting yield and crop quality of such agronomically important crops as wheat and barley. The disease is caused by a blend of Fusarium species, in which Fusarium poae has in recent years become more and more important. Species determination in Belgium from 2002 to 2012 showed a steady increase of the F. poae presence in the field population. Sampling in the field and subsequent single spore isolation have led to the creation of an in-house F. poae collection. Over the course of a PhD thesis, this collection will be analyzed from different angles to achieve a comprehensive understanding of this pathogen. The use of media that induce trichothecene synthesis in combination with UPLC-MS/MS have led to the identification of up to 5 different chemotypes in the population. The implications of this are discussed in relation to incidence data of several relevant F. poae toxins in the field, and in food and feed products, collected over an extensive survey in 2012.
The role of F. poae toxins in plant colonization is unknown. Several strategies are presented to elucidate this role in an in vitro and in vivo approach, including detached leaf and germination assays, and infection studies with pure toxins, and F. poae isolates of different chemotypes. Cytological staining presents the means to interpret defense responses of the wheat plant. Where possible, preliminary results are presented. The much more researched species F. graminearum mainly produces the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON). In recent years, a role in fungal defense and tolerance to oxidative stress has also been attributed to DON. Using the application of triazoles, strobilurines and their combination as a model system for oxidative stress, it is possible to research whether F. poae behaves in a similar way.

Contact: Adriaan Vanheule
Funding: Ghent University
Supervisors: Dr. ir. Kris Audenaert, Prof.dr.ir. Geert Haesaert
Co-supervisors: Prof.dr.ir. Monica Höfte, Prof.dr. Apr. Sarah De Saeger