Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

AgriLife Research wheat studies pay off

28.04.2010
Karnal bunt restrictions lifted in parts of Arizona, California and Texas

Research came full circle on April 16 as the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service amended the Karnal bunt quarantine areas in Arizona, California and Texas, according to a Texas AgriLife Research scientist.

"The research is finally paying off," said Dr. Charlie Rush, AgriLife Research plant pathologist, of the action by APHIS to lift the restrictions on the interstate movement of Karnal bunt regulated wheat from certain areas in all the three states. Texas has no further restrictions, however, Arizona still has one remaining area under quarantine.

"Sometimes it takes years to realize the impact of a specific research project, but this is a perfect example of where research allowed the government to make changes, and today the producers get the final payoff," Rush said.

Rush and his associates, through work in the AgriLife Research High Plains Plant Pathology Laboratory and Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, spent five years working on Karnal bunt to provide federal agencies information demonstrating the disease would not explode and cause significant disease outbreaks, even under optimum environmental conditions.

Karnal bunt is a fungal disease of wheat, first observed in the U.S. in 1996. The disease causes wheat kernels to be damaged by fungal teliospores. Each infected kernel can produce many reproductive spores and aid in the spread of the disease, Rush said. Bunted wheat can have an impact on flour quality by causing a fishy odor, but it is not toxic to humans or livestock.

In 2000, a federal order under the Plant Protection Act prohibited or restricted the movement in interstate commerce of any plant, plant part or article to prevent the dissemination of a plant pest within the U.S.

"When they first found Karnal bunt near Wichita Falls and San Saba, everything within a certain diameter around the field was quarantined," Rush said. "While it was never really a significant disease, the political ramifications and export issues grew and many producers suffered great losses."

Specifically, a region near Olney, including Archer, Baylor, Throckmorton and Young counties, and a region near San Saba, including McCulloch and San Saba counties, were placed under restriction.

Texas A&M System economists at the time estimated the fungal disease hurt the Rolling Plains regional economy to the tune of more than $27 million in the first year.

"The real tragedy of all of this was the producers it affected," said Stan Bevers, Texas AgriLife Extension Service economist in Vernon. "They had restrictions placed on them from moving their wheat and cattle that had grazed on the pastures. Producers found their land values dropping and their equity evaporating."

Karnal bunt can infect flowering plants if they come in contact with spores, primarily when temperatures are cool and rainfall and humidity are high. Researchers warned producers the spores could be spread from field to field on plants, seeds, soil, farm equipment, tools, vehicles or on the wind. Once in the soil, the spores can survive for as long as five years.

Rush said the five-year waiting period with negative results in these fields is what has finally been met, allowing the restrictions to be lifted.

David Marshall, a Texas A&M wheat researcher and director of the Dallas screening lab which handled all the Texas samples at the time, started the early diagnostic work, but he later moved to a new position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service in North Carolina.

With Marshall's departure, Rush said he was contacted by George Nash, state operational officer for APHIS in Austin, to pick up the research needed.

"Even though Karnal bunt wasn't a concern up here in the Texas Panhandle, as a wheat pathologist I just felt responsible to the growers in the state and took on the project," Rush said.

Rush, along with associates Dr. Jeff Stein, Dr. Tom Allen and Dr. Fekede Workneh, began concentrating on distribution and density of fungal spores and the movement of teliospores in the soil from a single-point introduction.

This allowed them to estimate how and when the pathogen was introduced in a field, and how rapidly the spores might be distributed across the field, he said. This information was used to develop a pest risk assessment, which is a prerequisite for federal deregulation.

Rush, working in collaboration with Dr. Bob Bowden on a federal initiative through the USDA-Agricultural Research Service and Kansas State University, was able to set up a Karnal bunt quarantine laboratory – the only state agriculture research station lab federally approved by USDA-APHIS for research on Karnal bunt.

In addition, the Texas High Plains Plant Pathology Diagnostic Laboratory, a part of the Great Plains Diagnostic Network, was subsequently established as an offshoot of Rush's work with Karnal bunt.

"Having the quarantine lab allowed us to actually work with the living organism," he said. "Obviously, there were a lot of safety precautions that had to be taken and strictly adheered to, especially since we were in the middle of wheat country."

By 2005, their studies indicated the spores of the Karnal bunt pathogen were not readily spread by conventional tillage equipment; that widespread distribution of teliospores existed in naturally infested fields in Texas and Arizona, suggesting the pathogen was likely to have existed for many years prior to its initial detection; and that it was probably spread through infested seed or manure.

Rush said despite the widespread incidence of fungal spores in field soils, disease incidence and severity was never high in Texas. The Karnal bunt lab has recently been closed and the project monies reallocated.

"Our research, in combination with work by USDA scientists and APHIS personnel, provided justification for the USDA to modify their rules. APHIS changed the rule to say if a field tested negative for five years, it could be taken out of restriction," Rush said.

Dr. Charlie Rush | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tamu.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State

nachricht How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>