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Fusarium-Damaged Cereal Grains Reported in 2010

by 5m Editor
23 December 2010, at 9:40am

CANADA - The Canadian Grain Commission reports Fusarium head blight (FHB) caused downgrading of cereal grains throughout western Canada this year, writes Bruce Cochrane.

2010 saw generally higher than normal rainfall in many parts of the prairies through the summer and at harvest accompanied by relatively warm temperatures, conditions which favor fungal disease on all kinds of crops.

Canadian Grain Commission mycologist. Tom Graefenhan. says most grading factors identified this year at inspection were frost and mildew in wheat, bleaching and staining in lentils, mould and weather staining in beans and another important disease on cereal grains was and is fusarium head blight.

Tom Graefenhan-Canadian Grain Commission

Commonly known symptoms of fusarium head blight (or FHB, as we call it) or fusarium-damaged kernels or tombstones.

These can be caused by a number of fungal species of which a few produce mycotoxins like for example vomitoxin.

Therefore one of the grading factors for wheat and other cereals used by CGC includes fusarium damage based on counts of damaged kernels and usually durum wheat is hit harvest by fusarium because of its natural low resistance to the causal agent.

Around the globe vomitoxin is produced mostly by one species,
Fusarium graminearum.

In western Canada this species was first detected in 1984 along the Red River Valley in Manitoba.

Ever since, the fusarium head blight spread across Manitoba into eastern Saskatchewan where it is now commonly found on all cereal grains.

These regions are hit hardest almost every year.


Mr Graefenhan says in 2010 quite a few samples were degraded for fusarium damage by all grain inspectors and in exceptional cases samples contained more then 10 per cent FDK even from regions that are usually not severely affected by fusarium, such as western Saskatchewan or central Alberta.

He says in those areas fusarium damaged kernels were caused by Fusarium avenaceum, a species of fusarium that does not produce vomitoxin.