Priming plant defense: A broad spectrum defense response that protects crops that have no genetic resistance or effective chemical treatment

This research project is designed to test the that approach by using a natural product ascaroside #18 (ascr#18), a pheromone produced by nematodes against diseases caused by challenging pathogens of wheat, and pulse crops.

  • Term:  3 year, beginning 2019

  • Funding Amount: $ 104,500

  • Lead Researcher(s): Dr. Hossein Borhan (Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon)

  • Funding Partners: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture -Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) and Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF)

Project Description

Plant defence priming is a novel approach which has been proven to play a role in protecting plants against economically important diseases.  This research project is designed to test the that approach by using a natural product ascaroside #18 (ascr#18), a pheromone produced by nematodes against diseases caused by challenging pathogens of wheat, and pulse crops.

Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) in wheat poses major challenges for producers. Priming plant defense offers an alternative, and/or supplementary approach for controlling plant diseases. Priming agents are natural or synthetic compounds that activate plant defense resulting in faster, and enhanced defense response against biotic stress agents. An advantage of defense priming is its broad-spectrum application against a range of pathogens, and its potential transgenerational durability. Recent advances in priming plant defenses have prompted the agricultural industry to explore this approach in controlling plant pathogens.

While there is sufficient evidence on the use of the priming agent ascr#18 in protecting plants against various pathogens, there is no data on the applicability of ascr#18 in protecting wheat from FHB. Thus, this project will evaluate the effect of application of ascr#18 as seed treatment, and foliar spray for FHB control in wheat, and major diseases in pulse crops under controlled conditions. A pilot experiment will also be conducted at the field level.

The outcome of this research proposal will offer practical, and environmentally safe approach to control these devastating diseases, and protect farm income by preventing yield loses for Saskatchewan cereal, and pulse crop farmers.