Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, Switzerland

Fusarium infection in maize: evaluating the susceptibility of varieties cultivated in Switzerland

Gibberella and fusarium ear rot of maize reduce grain yield qualitatively and quantitatively. Mycotoxins produced by the fungal pathogens that are responsible of these two diseases are a health threat for the animals fed with contaminated maize. One factor affecting disease severity and mycotoxin content, and therefore a potential management tool, is the susceptibility of the cultivated variety. This study aimed at establishing a methodology to evaluate this resistance level and then use is to test grain maize hybrids grown in Switzerland. A method using artificial inoculation of the ears at female flowering during at least three experimental years allowed to identify very susceptible, less susceptible and intermediate varieties. This ranking is a tool that maize growers may use while choosing a variety to manage the risk of Gibberella ear rot and of mycotoxin contamination.

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