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Wheat Blast

Wheat Blast:

Researchers who have modeled for the first time how wheat blast will spread in the future found the fungal disease could reduce global wheat production by 13% until 2050.

  • Wheat blast, caused by the plant fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, is a fast-acting, severe disease of wheat that causes bleaching of the heads.
  • Magnaporthe oryzae can infect many grasses, including barley, lolium, rice, and wheat, but specific isolates of this pathogen generally infect limited species; that is, wheat isolates infect preferably wheat plants but can use several more cereal and grass species as alternate hosts.
  • It spreads through infected seeds, crop residues, and spores that can travel long distances in the air.
  • It thrives in warm and humid conditions, making regions with such climates particularly susceptible.
  • The pathogen is also resistant to fungicides.
  • The seriousness of the disease is indicated by the fact that crops are burned to avoid this disease.
  • It causes progressive bleaching of the heads, lower yields, and poor seed quality.
  • Stems and leaves are discoloured, with dark brown, eye-shaped lesions on leaves.
  • Sometimes dark grey spores can be seen.
  • It can shrivel and deform the grain in less than a week from the first symptoms.