Fusarium Head Blight in Ethiopian Wheat and the Identification or Species Causing the Disease

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Eshetu Bekele
A.L. Karr


Wheat seeds produced in 1987 and stored under various conditions at research centres, seed farms, state farms and fanners’ stores in different regions of Ethiopia were checked for Fusarium infection. The disease was detected in 35 to 63 percent of the samples. The level of seed infection per sample ranged from 1 to 17 percent. Fusarium head blight (FHB) survey in wheat fields in 1988 indicated up to 85 percent infection in some state farms. Infected spikelets per head ranged from 5 to 80 percent. The high yielding cultivar Dashen, was very susceptible to FHB while ‘Enkoy, exhibited significant resistance. There were a few resistant lines identified from the
breeding lines in advanced tests in 1988. Considerably low levels of FHB were recorded at farmers’ fields than in state farms. Seventeen and thirteen Fusarium species were identified from stored seeds and scabby wheat heads in the field, respectively. F. nivale and F. avenaceum were the dominant species in the field samples collected from cool, moist, high altitude areas whereas F. graminearum was more frequent at lower altitudes and northwestern regions. F. sporotrichoides and F. poae, which are important because of their ability to produce more deadly mycotoxins, were less frequent and more limited in distribution in both state farms
and farmers, fields. F. Avenaceum, F. lateritium and F. equiseti were more commonly isolated from stored seed samples. Results of this study suggest that FHB can be a major threat to wheat production in Ethiopia under high rainfall conditions that are favourable to the disease development.


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Eshetu Bekele, & A.L. Karr. (2023). Fusarium Head Blight in Ethiopian Wheat and the Identification or Species Causing the Disease. Pest Managment Journal of Ethiopia, 1(1 & 2), 29–36. Retrieved from https://ppseonlinejournal.org/index.php/PMJE/article/view/369
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