Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Blumeria graminis
(powdery mildew of grasses and cereals)

Cowger C and Brown J K M, 2019. Blumeria graminis (powdery mildew of grasses and cereals). Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CABI. DOI:10.1079/ISC.22075.20210198939

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Blumeria graminis (powdery mildew of grasses and cereals)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 24 April 2020
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Blumeria graminis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • powdery mildew of grasses and cereals
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Fungi
  •     Phylum: Ascomycota
  •       Subphylum: Pezizomycotina
  •         Class: Leotiomycetes

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Powdery mildew on wheat leaves in the field.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionPowdery mildew on wheat leaves in the field.
CopyrightThorsten Kraska, University of Bonn, Germany
Powdery mildew on wheat leaves in the field.
SymptomsPowdery mildew on wheat leaves in the field. Thorsten Kraska, University of Bonn, Germany
TitleSymptoms on leaf
Caption
Copyright©J.M. Waller/CABI BioScience
Symptoms on leaf©J.M. Waller/CABI BioScience
B. graminis pustules on barley. These pustules usually appear as white powdery patches.
TitlePustules
CaptionB. graminis pustules on barley. These pustules usually appear as white powdery patches.
Copyright©Martin Wolfe
B. graminis pustules on barley. These pustules usually appear as white powdery patches.
PustulesB. graminis pustules on barley. These pustules usually appear as white powdery patches.©Martin Wolfe

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Blumeria graminis (DC.) Speer

Preferred Common Name

  • powdery mildew of grasses and cereals

Other Scientific Names

  • Erysiphe graminis DC.
  • Oidium monilioides (Nees) Link

International Common Names

  • Spanish: cenicilla de los cereales; oidio de los cereales
  • French: blanc des cereales; blanc des graminees; oidium des cereales

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Mehltau: Getreide

EPPO code

  • ERYSGR (Blumeria graminis)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Fungi
  •         Phylum: Ascomycota
  •             Subphylum: Pezizomycotina
  •                 Class: Leotiomycetes
  •                     Order: Erysiphales
  •                         Family: Erysiphaceae
  •                             Genus: Blumeria
  •                                 Species: Blumeria graminis

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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This fungus is the only species of the genus Blumeria but it has previously been treated as a species of Erysiphe. According to Braun (1987), it differs from all species of Erysiphe because its anamorph possesses unique features, for example, digitate haustoria, secondary mycelium with bristle-like hyphae and bulbous swellings of the conidiophores, and because of the structure of the ascocarps. Braun (1987) considers that, because of these differences, there should be a separation at generic level. Molecular sequence analyses proved the separate position of the powdery mildew on Poaceae and showed that Blumeria takes a basal position in the phylogenetic trees of the Erysiphales. Hence, Blumeria is only distantly related to Erysiphe and all other genera of the powdery mildew fungi (Saenz and Taylor, 1999; Mori et al., 2000; Braun et al., 2002).

As a biotrophic parasite, B. graminis has evolved to specialize on particular poaceous hosts. Traditionally, eight special forms or formae speciales of B. graminis were identified. They were ff. spp. tritici (Triticum and Aegilops spp.), hordei (Hordeum), avenae (Avena sativa), secalis (Secale cereale), agropyri (Agropyron and Elymus), bromi (Bromus spp.), poae (Poa spp.) and dactylidis (Dactylis spp.). The adaptation of B. graminis to specific cereal hosts involves both pathogen-associated molecular pattern-triggered immunity (PTI) and effector-triggered immunity (ETI) and has been termed ‘non-adapted resistance’ (Troch et al., 2014). This adaptation is strong enough that B. graminis f.sp. tritici does not parasitize domesticated barley, and B. graminis f.sp. hordei does not infect wheat.

B. graminis continues to evolve, and new formae speciales can arise. For example, starting in 2001 in France, B. graminis was found on triticale (X Triticosecale), a wheat-rye hybrid (Walker et al., 2011). The new strains were themselves a hybrid of B. graminis ff. spp. tritici and secalis, and have been called f.sp. triticale ( Troch et al., 2012; Menardo et al., 2016), which makes nine ff.spp. In the Middle Eastern centre of origin of the pathogen, B. graminis f.sp. tritici is significantly differentiated into populations primarily infecting tetraploid wild emmer or hexaploid domesticated wheat; however, it is unclear that the evidence supports the existence of a tenth forma specialis specialized on tetraploid wheats (Ben-David et al., 2016; Menardo et al., 2016).

It has been proposed that the forma specialis concept should no longer be applied to B. graminis from most wild grasses, where the tight association between evolution and host-specialization evident on domesticated cereal hosts does not exist (Troch et al., 2014). If adopted, this proposal would retain the formae speciales tritici, hordei, secalis, avenae and triticalis for the B. graminis strains specialized on the agricultural crops of wheat, barley, rye, cultivated oat (A. sativa) and triticale, respectively. But the f.sp. concept would no longer be applied to B. graminis from wild grasses; instead, the host species of origin would simply be mentioned when necessary to clarify the origin of an isolate.

Description

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Primary mycelium branched, hyaline and uninucleate; hyphal cells (35-)40(-55) x 3-6 µm; appressoria nipple-shaped, solitary or in opposite pairs, 3.5-7 µm diam.; secondary mycelium consisting of bristle-like hyphae which are straight to falcate, thick-walled, 200-400 x 4-7 µm, hyaline, later ochraceous to rusty or reddish brown; conidiophores arising from the mycelium at a right angle with the host surface, erect, 60-90 x 4-7 µm, foot-cells 20-40 x 5-7 µm, with a basal bulbose swelling, ca 10-15 µm wide, followed by shorter cells, ca 12.5-25 µm long; conidia in chains, mostly uninucleate, occasionally binucleate, hyaline, ellipsoid-ovoid, limoniform, (20-)25-35(-45) x (8)12-16(-20) µm, germinating by a simple germ tube, terminal to lateral, straight to somewhat flexuous, ca 12-50 x 2.5-4 µm, after germination germ tube forming an appressorium in juxtaposition with the host cuticle, a hyphal peg penetrating the cuticle and the subcuticular wall and forming an haustorium in the epidermal cell; haustoria ellipsoid with long, finger-shaped appendages radiating from both ends (the fungus advances no further in plant tissue and the remainder of the mycelium, as well as the ascomata, are entirely extramatrical i.e. on the exterior of the host substratum). Ascomata (chasmothecia) immersed in the mycelial felt, at first globose, becoming strongly depressed, often cupulate, 110-280 µm diam., peridial cells obscure, irregularly polygonal, 8-20 µm diam., with simple, rarely branched appendages, few to numerous, in the lower half, usually shorter than the ascomatal diam., mycelioid, septate, hyaline to pigmented, thin-walled, smooth, asci 6-30, saccate-ovate to subcylindrical, short-stalked, 50-110 x 20-45 µm; usually 8-spored, sometimes 4-spored, but ascospores rarely fully developed; ellipsoid-ovoid, subhyaline to pale brown, 20-24 x 10-14 µm.

See also Kapoor (1967) and Braun (1987, 1995).

Distribution

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Powdery mildew of cereals and grasses has a genuinely worldwide distribution (Cowger et al., 2012). B. graminis is distributed widely in Europe, North America, central Asia, and China. In addition, powdery mildew of wheat also occurs in Egypt, the Western Cape of South Africa, the higher-rainfall areas of Western Australia, and parts of Latin America (e.g., southern Brazil).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 25 Feb 2021
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AlgeriaPresent
AngolaPresent
EgyptPresent
EthiopiaPresent
KenyaPresent
LibyaPresent
MalawiPresent
MoroccoPresent
MozambiquePresent
RwandaPresent
South AfricaPresent
SudanPresent
TanzaniaPresent
TunisiaPresent
Western SaharaPresent
ZambiaPresent
ZimbabwePresent

Asia

AfghanistanPresent
ArmeniaPresent
AzerbaijanPresent
ChinaPresent
-AnhuiPresent
-BeijingPresent
-ChongqingPresent
-FujianPresent
-GansuPresent
-GuangdongPresent
-GuangxiPresent
-GuizhouPresent
-HebeiPresent
-HenanPresent
-HubeiPresent
-Inner MongoliaPresent
-JiangsuPresent
-JiangxiPresent
-JilinPresent
-LiaoningPresent
-NingxiaPresent
-QinghaiPresent
-ShaanxiPresent
-ShandongPresent
-ShanxiPresent
-SichuanPresent
-TibetPresent
-XinjiangPresent
-YunnanPresent
-ZhejiangPresent
GeorgiaPresent
IndiaPresent
-Andhra PradeshPresent
-BiharPresent
-ChhattisgarhPresent
-DelhiPresent
-HaryanaPresent
-Himachal PradeshPresent
-Jammu and KashmirPresent
-Madhya PradeshPresent
-MaharashtraPresent
-PunjabPresent
-RajasthanPresent
-SikkimPresent
-Tamil NaduPresent
-Uttar PradeshPresent
-UttarakhandPresent
IranPresent
IraqPresent
IsraelPresent
JapanPresent
-HokkaidoPresent
-HonshuPresent
-KyushuPresent
JordanPresent
KazakhstanPresent
KyrgyzstanPresent
LebanonPresent
MongoliaPresent
NepalPresent
PakistanPresent
Saudi ArabiaPresent
South KoreaPresent
SyriaPresent
TaiwanPresent
ThailandPresent
TurkeyPresent
TurkmenistanPresent
UzbekistanPresent
YemenPresent

Europe

AlbaniaPresent
AustriaPresent
BelarusPresent
BelgiumPresent
Bosnia and HerzegovinaPresent
BulgariaPresent
CroatiaPresent
CyprusPresent
CzechiaPresent
CzechoslovakiaPresent
Federal Republic of YugoslaviaPresent
Union of Soviet Socialist RepublicsPresent
DenmarkPresent
EstoniaPresent
Faroe IslandsPresent
FinlandPresent
FrancePresent
GermanyPresent
GreecePresent
HungaryPresent
IcelandPresent
IrelandPresent
ItalyPresent
LatviaPresent
LithuaniaPresent
MaltaPresent
MoldovaPresent
NetherlandsPresent
North MacedoniaPresent
NorwayPresent
PolandPresent
PortugalPresent
RomaniaPresent
RussiaPresent
-Central RussiaPresent, Widespread
-Eastern SiberiaPresent, Widespread
-Northern RussiaPresent, Widespread
-Russian Far EastPresent, Widespread
-SiberiaPresent
-Southern RussiaPresent, Widespread
-Western SiberiaPresent, Widespread
Serbia and MontenegroPresent
SlovakiaPresent
SloveniaPresent
SpainPresent
-Canary IslandsPresent
Svalbard and Jan MayenPresent
SwedenPresent
SwitzerlandPresent
UkrainePresent
United KingdomPresent
-Northern IrelandPresentOriginal citation: Mercer & Ruddock, 2003

North America

BermudaPresent
CanadaPresent, Widespread
-AlbertaPresent
-British ColumbiaPresent
-ManitobaPresent
-New BrunswickPresent
-Newfoundland and LabradorPresent
-Northwest TerritoriesPresent
-Nova ScotiaPresent
-NunavutPresent
-OntarioPresent
-Prince Edward IslandPresent
-QuebecPresent
-SaskatchewanPresent
-YukonPresent
GreenlandPresent
GuatemalaPresent
MexicoPresent
NicaraguaPresent
Puerto RicoPresent
United StatesPresent, Widespread
-AlaskaPresent
-ArizonaPresent
-ArkansasPresent
-CaliforniaPresent
-ColoradoPresent
-ConnecticutPresent
-DelawarePresent
-District of ColumbiaPresent
-FloridaPresent
-GeorgiaPresent
-IdahoPresent
-IllinoisPresent
-IndianaPresent
-IowaPresent
-KansasPresent
-KentuckyPresent
-MainePresent
-MarylandPresent
-MichiganPresent
-MinnesotaPresent
-MississippiPresent
-MissouriPresent
-MontanaPresent
-NebraskaPresent
-NevadaPresent
-New HampshirePresent
-New JerseyPresent
-New MexicoPresent
-New YorkPresent
-North CarolinaPresent
-North DakotaPresent
-OhioPresent
-OklahomaPresent
-OregonPresent
-PennsylvaniaPresent
-Rhode IslandPresent
-South CarolinaPresent
-South DakotaPresent
-TennesseePresent
-TexasPresent
-UtahPresent
-VermontPresent
-VirginiaPresent
-WashingtonPresent
-West VirginiaPresent
-WyomingPresent

Oceania

AustraliaPresent
-New South WalesPresent
-QueenslandPresent
-South AustraliaPresent
-TasmaniaPresent
-VictoriaPresent
-Western AustraliaPresent
New ZealandPresent

South America

ArgentinaPresent
BrazilPresent
-Mato Grosso do SulPresent
-Minas GeraisPresent
-ParanaPresent
-Rio Grande do SulPresent
-Sao PauloPresent
ChilePresent
ColombiaPresent
EcuadorPresent
ParaguayPresent
PeruPresent
UruguayPresent
VenezuelaPresent

Risk of Introduction

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There are no known quarantine regulations on B. graminis perhaps because of its widespread distribution and airborne dissemination.

Hosts/Species Affected

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B. graminis is found on numerous species comprising more than 100 genera of Poaceae, with the exception of the Maydeae, Andropogoneae, Zoysieae, Paniceae and Oryzeae (Dickson 1956; Amano, 1986).

Growth Stages

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Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage

Symptoms

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Powdery mildew appears in the form of white, later grey-tan areas on all aerial parts of cereals and grasses i.e. leaves, stems and ears, although leaves are most commonly infected. Initial symptoms are easily overlooked and take the form of chlorotic flecks on plant tissue. This is quickly followed by the development of white, beige or grey patches which produce masses of conidia (asexual spores) and assume a powdery appearance. If the plant is shaken even gently, clouds of conidia are released from the patches. Ascomata (fruit bodies forming sexual spores, termed chasmothecia) may or may not form, but when they do, they occur late in the season and can be found embedded in the mildew colonies as tiny, dark-coloured dots.
 

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Inflorescence / lesions on glumes
Leaves / abnormal colours
Leaves / fungal growth
Roots / reduced root system
Stems / mycelium present

Biology and Ecology

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B. graminis bridges the gap between host crops mainly as a mycelial mat on leaves of grasses and autumn-sown cereals. The ascomata (chasmothecia) produced during the late spring or summer in that mycelial mat are fairly resistant to temperature extremes and to drying out, and are thus an important source of inoculum for the next season. In humid weather, chasmothecia release ascospores which can start infections on autumn-sown crops in the autumn and perhaps also in the spring. As temperatures rise in the spring, dormant mycelium commences growth and conidia are produced rapidly. Conidia usually germinate over a range of temperatures from about 3 to 31°C, although 15°C is probably optimal for germination, together with a relative humidity about 95%. Conidial germination is inhibited by free water. Under favourable conditions, fresh conidia can be found in about 7 days and are dispersed within the crop and further afield in the wind. Crucially, therefore, epidemics of powdery mildew will tend to occur during conditions of alternating wet and dry weather, with some wind to ensure dispersal of the conidia.

Mildew is encouraged by very early autumn sowing, especially in barley. In the autumn, heavily infected plants may be less resistant to winter frosts and plants may die. Powdery mildew is also encouraged by excessive use of nitrogen fertilizer and can be particularly severe in dense crops grown in a sheltered, humid environment. The planting of highly susceptible cultivars is a prime reason that powdery mildew becomes an economic problem in areas where it was previously scarce.

For further information, see Spencer (1978), Parry (1990) and Manners (1993).

Seedborne Aspects

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Seed treatment

Seed treatment with difenoconazole, followed by flutriafol, triticonazole and triadimenol was shown to achieve the highest fungal protection in wheat (Reis et al., 2008).

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx fungi/hyphae; fungi/spores Yes Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Leaves fungi/hyphae; fungi/spores Yes Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches fungi/hyphae; fungi/spores Yes Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Bark
Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes
Fruits (inc. pods)
Growing medium accompanying plants
Roots
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants
True seeds (inc. grain)
Wood

Impact

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Powdery mildew is one of the most common and destructive diseases of cereals. Actual losses depend on the time of disease epidemic onset and its severity, and can at the extreme reach up to 60% (James et al., 1991; Oerke et al., 1994). Although it occurs in most, if not all, parts of the world where cereals are grown, powdery mildew is not considered to be a major problem in every region. This disease can be very destructive, but generally seems to cause most damage in temperate latitudes, especially in the northern hemisphere, where wheat and barley are more frequently cultivated (see map in Cowger et al., 2012). However, powdery mildew can also be a limiting factor for cereal production in subtropical and tropical areas. Yield losses by powdery mildews are generally complex to estimate and depend on several factors such as climate, year, cropping system, cereal species and cultivar.

In some parts of Europe, powdery mildews are a limiting factor to the yield of cereals. In the UK, powdery mildew is considered a moderate risk for wheat growers, with 13-17% of crops affected in the 2014-2015 period (AHDB, 2016). Powdery mildew generally reduces wheat yields less than other foliar diseases, with yield losses due to wheat powdery mildew rarely exceeding 10% in the UK. Scottish spring barley has seen an increase in powdery mildew in recent years due to widespread planting of a highly susceptible malting variety (FAS, 2019).

Powdery mildew is a major wheat disease in northern and central Europe (Miedaner and Flath, 2007). Also in barley production in central and north-western Europe, including the Czech Republic, powdery mildew can be an important constraint (Dreiseitl, 2011). Specific estimates of yield impact in this region are not recent. Field trials with winter barley in Germany between 1975 and 1981 revealed yield losses of 11% due to powdery mildew (Kolbe, 1982). Despite the use of crop protection measures, Lutze et al. (1982) calculated that the average yield loss due to powdery mildew over 6 years was 5.3% (a range of 3.3 to 6.2% was estimated) in barley cultivated in the east of Germany. Based on a yield level of 7.5 t/ha, heavy infections by powdery mildew resulted in losses of 4.8% in wheat during 1969-79 in Germany (Anderl et al., 1984). In the Czech Republic, yield losses of 17% were reported in wheat growing under a severe infection pressure of powdery mildew (Benada and Vanova, 1984). In Romania, crop losses due to B. graminis f.sp. tritici varied from 1 to more than 20% depending on the region in which it occurred (Ciurdarescu et al., 1987).

Wheat powdery mildew occurs frequently in the eastern states of the USA; severe epidemics occur most often in the mid-Atlantic region, although widespread planting of susceptible cultivars has caused outbreaks from Georgia to Oklahoma to Montana (Cowger et al., 2018). Estimates of yield losses in susceptible cultivars ranged from 12 to 20% in Virginia (Griffey et al., 1993) and decreases of up to 30% in number of tillers and kernels per head were observed from early-onset epidemics in North Carolina (Bowen et al., 1991). In Kentucky, USA, an average yield loss of 20% was associated with powdery mildew over two experimental years in soft red winter wheat (Pearce et al., 1996).

Among the pathogens of wheat in Argentina, powdery mildew practically occurs every year in the wheat cropping area, particularly in the first growth stages and less frequently in later stages (Molteni et al., 1996). In general, it is not economically important in the crop area of La Pampa Humeda, in contrast to areas with higher temperatures such as Santa Fe, Entre Rios and Chaco, where the disease also occurs at later growth stages and can therefore cause significant yield losses. However, no precise data on losses by powdery mildew are available for wheat in Argentina. In field experiments carried out in the south of Brazil during 1981, powdery mildew reduced the yield of a wheat susceptible cultivar by 8% (Luz, 1984). In 1986, experimental results showed that yield losses attributed to the lack of fungicide control of powdery mildew varied from 20-23% (in susceptible cultivars) to 55% (in a highly susceptible wheat cultivar) (Linhares, 1988).

Based on figures from the Chinese crop protection authorities, Teng (1986) quoted losses nationwide due to powdery mildew in wheat as 3.4%. Wheat powdery mildew has tended to be more severe in China since the late 1970s (Cao et al., 2013) and the disease has spread from south-western China into the eastern and northern regions (Liu et al., 2019). Destructive epidemics in 1990 and 1991 caused yield losses up to 1.44 and 0.77 million tons, respectively (Zou et al., 2018). Over the period 2002-2019, an average of 10 million ha per year of wheat experienced powdery mildew outbreaks in China (Liu et al., 2019). 

In New Zealand, Cromey et al. (1992) reported losses in winter wheat of up to 35% due to powdery mildew infection of susceptible cultivars. In Australia, powdery mildew is a major problem for growers in the western region, especially in south-west Western Australia (GRDC, 2012); in that state, recent losses to barley powdery mildew were estimated at $30 million annually. Powdery mildew is the most damaging barley disease in Western Australia (Tucker et al., 2013).

Diagnosis

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Because, under favourable conditions, powdery mildew can infect leaves and commence sporulating within 7-8 days, and is easily identified, specific diagnostic methods are usually not required. B. graminis is an obligate biotroph and cannot be cultured axenically.

Detection and Inspection

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Powdery mildew is easily detected in the crop since the white, fluffy colonies are easily seen on the foliage.

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Cultural Control and Sanitary Methods

As volunteer cereals act as overwintering sources of inoculum and stubble and crop debris may harbour chasmothecia, eradication of volunteers and disposing of stubble and debris are important aspects of cultural control. Isolation of autumn-sown and spring-sown cereals (i.e. not growing them too close together) will reduce the risk of infection of the autumn-sown crop spreading to the spring-sown crop. In addition, because nitrogen fertilizer promotes lush crop growth and encourages mildew development, excessive use of nitrogen should be avoided.

Host-Plant Resistance

Host-plant resistance is very important in the control of powdery mildew on cereals. A wide range of resistance to powdery mildew is exhibited by varieties of wheat, barley and oats, and in those countries where mildew is widespread, it is prudent to choose a variety with a good resistance rating. If the variety grown has poor resistance to powdery mildew, careful crop monitoring will be necessary in order to optimise the timing of fungicide applications. In warmer regions, even a moderate amount of host resistance, or adult-plant resistance, is often adequate to make fungicide application unnecessary, because powdery mildew development ceases when day-time high temperatures routinely exceed 26°C.

For control of powdery mildew in areas prone to severe epidemics, a common approach to host resistance has been to deploy one or more Pm genes in a genetic background of relatively strong quantitative resistance. Selection by breeders in areas conducive to powdery mildew epidemics can result in high levels of adult-plant or other partial resistance in regional germplasm, e.g. in Scandinavia (Hysing et al., 2007; Lillemo et al., 2010). As Pm genes can be rapidly overcome if they are widely deployed, new resistance sources have been continuously sought. In the USA, there has been considerable success in introgressing new powdery mildew (Pm) genes into wheat bred for mildew-prone areas. For example, since 1987, 16 new resistance sources were identified in diploid and tetraploid wheat relatives and introgressed into a common soft winter wheat background under the direction of Dr Paul Murphy at North Carolina State University, resulting in five Pm gene and two temporary gene designations (summarized in Cowger et al., 2018). Characterization of novel resistance sources in wheat relatives and landraces is ongoing in China (e.g., Zou et al., 2018) and Oklahoma, USA (summarized in Li et al., 2019). 

The strategic deployment of host resistance can be effective against powdery mildew, which is the classic wind-borne polycyclic pathogen. For example, spread of mildew from one field to another can be reduced by the correct diversification of varieties. In the UK, the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) produces a leaflet on Diversification Schemes which gives information on good combinations of varieties. Growing mixtures of varieties is also an option to reduce cereal powdery mildew (Chin and Wolfe, 1984; Finckh et al., 1999; Newton et al., 2002).

Chemical Control

Fungicides are widely used in the control of powdery mildew in cereals. Chemistries that have been used for control of mildew on wheat and barley include morpholines (e.g., fenpropidin), demethylase inhibitors (DMIs, e.g., tebuconazole and cyproconazole) and quinone outside inhibitor (QoI, or strobilurin) fungicides. Differences in the efficacy of fungicides used in mildew control are due, in large part, to the emergence of isolates of B. graminis that are insensitive to fungicide groups. Reduced efficacy of DMIs and in some cases morpholines against B. graminis f.sp. tritici was observed in the 1980s and 1990s in Europe (e.g., Godet and Limpert, 1998). Widespread resistance to strobilurin fungicides in European B. graminis f.sp. tritici populations appeared starting in the late 1990s, after only 2 to 3 years of use (Chin et al., 2001Fraaije et al., 2002; Miedaner and Flath, 2007). B. graminis f.sp. tritici was one of the pathogens that most rapidly evolved to QoI insensitivity in Europe (Fisher et al., 2004).

Mildew infection on oats can also be controlled using morpholines and triazoles, although in some countries such as the UK, the range of fungicides approved for oats is limited compared to other cereals. A new fungicide, Falcon 460 EC, containing the new active ingredient spiroxamine, was introduced in Slovenia in 2000 for the control of a range of diseases including powdery mildew on cereals (Kraner, 2001). In addition, simeconazole (2-[4-fluorophenyl)-1-(1H-1,2, 4-triazol-l-yl)3-trimethylsilylpropan-2-01), a novel triazole fungicide with broad spectrum activity was launched as a new seed treatment (Tsuda et al., 2000). It has activity against powdery mildew (B. graminis) and has been shown to increase wheat yields by 10% compared to untreated crops.

In Australia, reduced sensitivity to DMIs has been observed in B. graminis f.sp. hordei (Tucker et al., 2015) and B. graminis f.sp. tritici populations (Lopez and Kay, 2017). A key mutation conferring insensitivity to QoI fungicides was detected in B. graminis f.sp. tritici in 2016 in eastern Australia (Group, 2016).

Fungicide insensitivity is much less evolved in B. graminis f.sp. tritici populations in the USA than in those from Europe or Australia, presumably due to the lesser frequency of fungicide applications. However, eastern US isolates had lower DMI sensitivity than those from the central states, indicating some loss of efficacy (Meyers et al., 2019).

References

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+ssveen M, Gunnarstorp T, 1996. Effects of barley cultivar mixture on certain agronomically important characteristics. Norsk Landbruksforsking, 10(2):149-158; 28 ref

Abdelrhim, A., Abd-Alla, H. M., Abdou, E., Ismail, M. E., Cowger, C., 2018. Virulence of Egyptian Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici population and response of Egyptian wheat cultivars. Plant Disease, 102(2), 391-397. doi: 10.1094/PDIS-07-17-0975-RE

Abkhoo J, 2015. Powdery mildews causing fungi in Iran. Mycopath, 13(1):51-55. http://111.68.103.26/journals/index.php/mycopath/article/viewFile/673/354

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22/11/19 Reviewed by:

Christina Cowger, Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, USA

22/11/19 Review of Taxonomy:

James KM Brown, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK

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