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Improving wheat varieties in Kazakhstan

Date:
September 7, 2015
Source:
South Dakota State University
Summary:
Wheat farmers in Kazakhstan lose anywhere from from 10 percent to as much as 50 percent of their wheat crop due to tan spot and Septoria leaf blotch. A research scientist will screen new wheat varieties to improve resistance to these common fungal diseases.
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Research scientist Zagipa Sapakhova from the Institute of Plant Biology and Biotechnology in Kazakhstan inoculates seedlings with one of two tan spot toxins. She will use what she learned from SDSU small grains pathologist Shaukat Ali to breed wheat that is resistant to tan spot and Septoria leaf blotch.
Credit: Image courtesy of South Dakota State University

Techniques learned at South Dakota State University will help a research scientist from the Institute of Plant Biology and Biotechnology in Kazakhstan breed wheat varieties resistant to two common fungal diseases.

Plant breeder Zagipa Sapakhova spent two months this summer studying tan spot and Septoria leaf blotch with SDSU small grains pathologist Shaukat Ali.

"I learned techniques that I will take home and apply," Sapakhova said. The Institute of Plant Biology and Biotechnology works with agricultural breeding stations to develop improved crop varieties in Kazakhstan, a nation in Asia sandwiched between Russia and China.

Ali met Sapakhova through his work with the CIMMYT International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in El Batán, Mexico, which seeks to provide training opportunities for agricultural researchers from developing countries.

Farmers in Kazakhstan produce 17 to 20 million metric tonnes of wheat per year and the country exports up to 10 million tonnes to Europe, the Middle East and neighboring countries, according to Sapakhova. However, producers lose anywhere from 10 percent to as much as 50 percent of their wheat crop due to tan spot and Septoria leaf blotch.

Using fungal isolates that Ali provided, Sapakhova became familiar with methods of identifying biomarkers for the tan spot toxin genes using polymerase chain reaction analysis and gel electrolysis. She will then use these techniques to characterize tan spot-causing races that affect wheat in Kazakhstan.

Producers can use fungicide to fight these diseases, but breeders can save the growers money if they find out whether new varieties are susceptible or resistant before they are commercialized, Ali explained.

Sapakhova brought 223 varieties of wheat seeds to evaluate. She inoculated the seedlings with spores to determine their resistance or susceptibility to the tan spot and Septoria leaf blotch.

She also tested the Kazakhstan wheat genotypes using two host-selective toxins produced by tan spot.

Toxins trigger symptoms in the seedlings faster and are easier to handle than spores, according to Ali. The plants begin to show signs of susceptibility within two to four days.

"Race 1 produces Ptr ToxA and Race 5 produces Prt ToxB," Sapakhova explained. As she examined the leaves, she pointed out, "If the leaves become yellow, that's chlorosis and it's because of race 5."


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Materials provided by South Dakota State University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Cite This Page:

South Dakota State University. "Improving wheat varieties in Kazakhstan." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150907101452.htm>.
South Dakota State University. (2015, September 7). Improving wheat varieties in Kazakhstan. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150907101452.htm
South Dakota State University. "Improving wheat varieties in Kazakhstan." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150907101452.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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