Agricultural Research Division of IANR


Date of this Version



Published in Crop Sci. 42:1404–1408 (2002).


Fusarium head blight (FHB), incited by Fusarium graminearum Schwabe [telomorph Gibberella zea (Schwein)], has caused devastating losses to yield and quality of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) produced in the upper U.S. Midwest from 1993 to 2000. Design of an efficient breeding strategy for developing FHB resistant cultivars is dependent on knowing (i) the heritability of FHB resistance and accumulation of deoxynivalenol (DON), a mycotoxin contaminant produced by F. graminearum and (ii) the correlated response of other traits during selection for reduced FHB. We conducted field studies in FHB disease nurseries using F4:5 and F4:6 families from the cross between the FHB susceptible six-rowed cultivar Foster and the resistant two-rowed accession CIho 4196 to gain knowledge in the areas listed above. Heritability of FHB severity and DON accumulation was 0.65 and 0.46, respectively. A moderately strong positive association between FHB severity and DON accumulation was observed (r = 0.62). FHB severity and DON accumulation were negatively associated with plant height, days to heading, spike angle, and spike density. The selection differentials calculated between the top F4:6 families selected for low FHB severity and the unselected F4:5 families were moderately high for FHB severity, DON accumulation, and days to heading. Less than 14% of the selected lines had six-rowed spikes. No difference in plant height was observed between the selected and unselected families. Thus, development of FHB resistant lines with acceptable DON accumulation and days to heading is obtainable. However, because no lines were as short as Foster, development of FHB resistant plants with acceptable plant height from a cross using CIho 4196 as a parent will be difficult.