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Improved control of Septoria tritici blotch in durum wheat using cultivar mixtures

M’Barek, S. B., Karisto, P., Abdedayem, W., Laribi, M., Fakhfakh, M., Kouki, H., Mikaberidze, A. and Yahyaoui, A. (2020) Improved control of Septoria tritici blotch in durum wheat using cultivar mixtures. Plant Pathology, 69 (9). pp. 1655-1665. ISSN 0032-0862

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/ppa.13247


Mixtures of cultivars with contrasting levels of disease resistance are capable of suppressing infectious diseases in wheat, as demonstrated in numerous field experiments. Most studies focused on airborne pathogens in bread wheat, while splash-dispersed pathogens have received less attention, and no studies have been conducted in durum wheat. We conducted a two-year field experiment in Tunisia, a major durum wheat producer in the Mediterranean region, to evaluate the performance of cultivar mixtures in controlling the polycyclic, splash-dispersed disease Septoria tritici blotch (STB) in durum wheat. To measure STB severity, we used a novel, high-throughput method based on digital analysis of images captured from 3074 infected leaves collected from 42 and 40 experimental plots on the first and the second year, respectively. This method allowed us to quantify pathogen reproduction on wheat leaves and to acquire a large dataset that exceeds previous studies with respect to accuracy and statistical power. Our analyses show that introducing only 25% of a disease-resistant cultivar into a pure stand of a susceptible cultivar provides a substantial reduction of almost 50% in disease severity. However, adding a second resistant cultivar to the mixture did not further improve disease control, contrary to predictions of epidemiological theory. Susceptible cultivars can be agronomically superior to resistant cultivars or be better accepted by growers for other reasons. Hence, if mixtures with only a moderate proportion of the resistant cultivar provide similar degree of disease control as resistant pure stands, as our analysis indicates, such mixtures are more likely to be accepted by growers.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Crop Science
ID Code:91550


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