Susceptibility of European bread and durum wheat cultivars to Tilletia indica.
Representative European wheat cultivars were tested under quarantine containment for their susceptibility to Tilletia indica, the cause of Karnal bunt of wheat. Fifteen winter and 15 spring wheat (Triticum aestivum) and 11 durum wheat (Triticum durum) cultivars were inoculated by boot injection just prior to ear emergence to test their physiological susceptibility. Selected cultivars were then re-tested by spray inoculation after ear emergence to determine their morphological susceptibility, which is a better predictor of field susceptibility. At maturity, the ears and seeds were assessed for incidence and severity of disease. For the physiological susceptibility tests, 13/15 winter wheat cultivars were infected and the percentage of infected seeds ranged from 1 to 32%. For spring cultivars, 13/15 cultivars were infected and the percentage of infected seeds ranged from 1 to 48%. For the durum cultivars, 9/11 were infected and the percentage of infected seeds ranged from 2 to 95%. Across all cultivars, 35/41 were infected. Based on historical Karnal bunt susceptibility categories using coefficients of infection, one cultivar was classed as highly susceptible, three as susceptible, 11 as moderately susceptible, 20 as resistant and only six as highly resistant. The spray-inoculation morphological susceptibility tests broadly confirmed the physiological susceptibility results, although lower levels of infection were observed. Overall, the range of susceptibility was similar to that found in cultivars grown in Karnal bunt affected countries. The results demonstrate that European wheat cultivars are susceptible to T. indica and thus could potentially support the establishment of T. indica if introduced into Europe.