Aster yellow disease in spring wheat – a benchmark characterization and cultivar assessment

  • Term: Four years, beginning 2015

  • Funding amount: $95,220

  • Lead researcher(s): Dr. Pierre Hucl, University of Saskatchewan

  • Funding partners: Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture (SMA) - Agriculture Development Fund (ADF)

Project Description

Aster yellow (AY) in cereal is a common but largely undetected disease. Researchers have no knowledge of its impact on seed production and quality, and there has been very little research done on the expression of AY symptoms in Canadian wheat cultivars, the impact of the disease on seed production and quality, and on the development of an economic threshold.

This project aims to address these gaps, by studying the expression of AY symptom in wheat using bioassays and leafhopper colonies recently developed to study the disease in canola. As well, several rapid molecular techniques were developed and are now routinely used to detect and identify AY strains in plant and insects. Specific project objectives include:

  • Documenting the symptomology of AY in recent wheat cultivars and to estimate the yield losses depending on the number of leafhoppers

  • Evaluating the reaction of selected wheat cultivars to AY

  • Estimating the AY disease incidence and identify the phytoplasma strains present in leafhoppers and wheat grown in trials

Overall, this research will aim to provide new information on leafhopper population evolution and infectivity over the years, helping to develop a set of AY management practices in wheat fields. There is also potential for identification of AY tolerant wheat cultivars. This research will also aim to develop a series of pictures of AY disease symptoms, which will be available to producers and agronomists to help them identify AY disease in wheat.