Effects of Plant Growth Regulators on Fusarium Head Blight infection of Sprin...

Effects of Plant Growth Regulators on Fusarium Head Blight infection of Spring Wheat

Researchers: Anita Brule-Babel
Keywords: Fusarium PGRs Wheat
Start Date: 2019
Status: In Progress

Lead Researcher:  Anita Brule-Babel, University of Manitoba
Start Date:  2019
Project Length: 2 Years
Project Status: APPROVED – U of M contracting 

Background:  Research has shown that short plants tend to have higher levels of Fusarium head blight (FHB) than taller plants.  One of the reasons for this is that short plants often carry semi-dwarfing alleles which shorten the filament on the anthers, resulting in anther retention during flowering. Anthers that are retained between the lemma and palea provide a nutrient rich surface for Fusarium spores to land and enter the spike. Plant growth regulators shorten plants by reducing cell elongation. If filaments are also shortened, this may increase the potential for FHB infection. This study will investigate the effect of two plant growth regulators, (PGRs) Manipulator and Ethrel, on anther retention and FHB infection in spring wheat using field and greenhouse studies.


  1. Determine the effect of plant growth regulators on Fusarium head blight and deoxynivalenol accumulation, plant height, and yield in spring wheat
  2. Determine the effects of Manipulator and Ethrel on anther retention in spring wheat.
  3. Evaluate the interaction between plant growth regulators and semi-dwarfing genes in spring wheat.

Total project cost:  $157,386
MWBGA Funding Requested:  $80,260 + $3,500 in-kind
Funding Partners:  CAP Ag Action MB

Benefits to MB Producers: The results of this research will determine how PGRs affect FHB of wheat.  This is important information for producers, especially in the higher moisture regions of the prairies where FHB epidemics are most prevalent.  These are the regions that have the highest yield potential and risk of lodging under intensive management and would most benefit from PGR application.  If PGRs affect FHB, producers will need to adjust their management to reduce to potential for FHB infection and production of high DON grain that is of lower value. On the other hand, if PGRs do not affect FHB, then producers could benefit from the genetics of FHB resistant cultivars without sacrificing potential yield due to lodging.