About this Research Topic
Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is the most widely grown crop in the world and provides 20% of the global intake of protein and calories. It is considered the primary staple food in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, and there is increased consumption of wheat products throughout many countries in Asia. Given the projected increase in the world population, the predicted dietary changes, and the increase in the consumption per capita in some countries, it is estimated that there will be a significant increase in the global demand of wheat. Moreover, the decreasing availability of suitable land and climatic change will make wheat production less predictable. All these factors will contribute to the fact that the increase in wheat production, supported by the annual genetic gain, will not match the increase in wheat demand. Therefore, the yield potential should be increased or the gap between the potential yield and the actual yield should be minimized.
Important avenues to address this challenge include improving resistance and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses and achieving better control of diseases and pests. Fungal wheat diseases cause yield losses of about 20 % around the world and affect the grain quality in various ways. Frequently, new races of pathogens appear, some previously known diseases affect new hosts and new emerging diseases threaten wheat production. Furthermore, the decline in the genetic diversity of crops, cultural practices such as non-tillage systems, and high levels of fertilization has negatively impacted on the incidence and severity caused by fungal diseases. Conventional disease control using fungicides faces challenges such as the spread of fungicide resistance and risks to the environment. Therefore, the diseases affecting the crop, the real effects of their epidemics, as well as the critical periods for applying fungicides should be known. Integrated management including breeding for resistance and tolerance are necessary to reduce the effect of wheat diseases.
This Research Topic welcomes Reviews, Original Research and Opinion articles providing new insights into fungal wheat diseases, the biology of the pathogens and their molecular interactions with wheat. Topics can include:
- Molecular methods for detection and of fungal diseases and their epidemiology including the reemergence of old diseases and new pathogen species
- The biology and physiology of new pathogen species or hosts
- Effects on wheat physiology and consequences on yield, yield traits and quality
- Weather based models to predict real time risk of epidemic development and yield losses
- Integrated pest management through the identification of genes and pathways involved in resistance or susceptibility using molecular tools, analyses of expression patterns and gene function, and marker assisted selection to incorporate more durable resistance in new wheat varieties
- Agronomic control practices, including crop rotation, intercropping, tillage practices, and fertilizer strategies to manage fungal diseases
- Integrated control strategies using methods such as biological control or fungicides
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.