A review of wheat diseases—a field perspective

Melania Figueroa, Kim E. Hammond-Kosack, Peter S. Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Wheat is one of the primary staple foods throughout the planet. Significant yield gains in wheat production over the past 40 years have resulted in a steady balance of supply versus demand. However, predicted global population growth rates and dietary changes mean that substantial yield gains over the next several decades will be needed to meet this escalating demand. A key component to meeting this challenge is better management of fungal incited diseases, which can be responsible for 15%–20% yield losses per annum. Prominent diseases of wheat that currently contribute to these losses include the rusts, blotches and head blight/scab. Other recently emerged or relatively unnoticed diseases, such as wheat blast and spot blotch, respectively, also threaten grain production. This review seeks to provide an overview of the impact, distribution and management strategies of these diseases. In addition, the biology of the pathogens and the molecular basis of their interaction with wheat are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1523-1536
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Plant Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge support by the University of Minnesota Experimental Station USDA-NIFA Hatch/Figueroa project MIN-22–058. Rothamsted Research receives grant-aided support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) UK as part of the Institute Strategic Programme grants 20:20VR wheat [BB/J/00426X/1] and Designing Future Wheat [BB/P016855/1]. PHI-base receives support from the BBSRC as a National Capability [BB/J/004383/1] and the PhytoPath1 and Phytopath2 projects [BB/I000488/1, BB/K020056/1]. The BBSRC funds open access publication. PSS would like to acknowledge the support of the Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation (ANU00026). We thank Professor Ruth Dill-Macky for allowing us access to the Fusarium Head Blight nursery at the University of Minnesota. The author(s) declare that there are no conflicting interests. We apologize to colleagues whose research could not be cited because of space restrictions.

Publisher Copyright:

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Fusarium head blight/scab
  • Helminthosporium
  • Magnaporthe
  • blotch
  • fungal pathogens
  • rusts
  • wheat diseases


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