Agronomists have found varieties of wheat that are resistant to depletion

Agronomists have discovered genetic markers that make crops resistant to a dangerous phenomenon – enzyme depletion. The researchers described the factors that lead to this lesion and developed a scale to rate resistance. The results are published in the journal Pathogens .

One of the reasons for the loss of grain crops is enzyme-mycotic seed depletion (EMSD). It can destroy up to 60% of the crop. The development of EMSD is associated with adverse weather conditions: for example, heavy rains increase the activity of enzymes that break down grain biopolymers into simple sugars and amino acids. These substances come to the surface of the grains and become food for fungi. The most common technique for dealing with EMSD is to maintain the required level of humidity. However, breeding EMSD-resistant crops is a more efficient way. Agricultural technologists have discovered several such varieties. Scientists from the All-Russian Research Institute of Phytopathology, Federal Horticultural Center conducted the study for Breeding, Agrotechnology and Nursery, North Kazakhstan University, Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy, Vavilov All-Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources, KFU and RUDN University.

“EMSD has a negative effect on the yield of grain crops, especially wheat. The most promising way to increase the wheat yield is the breeding of new varieties that would be adapted to the soil and climatic conditions in different regions. This is the most effective way to increase and maintain yields. The genetic approach makes it possible to breed wheat varieties that are resistant to abiotic (frost and drought) and biotic stress (pathogens). Therefore, we decided to find signs of traumatization of grain on the vine in the winter wheat gene pool and select genotypes resistant to EMIS,” said Rebouh Nazih, PhD, Associate Professor of the Department of Environmental Management of RUDN University.

Agronomists studied the collection of plant genetic resources of the Vavilov All-Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources. This collection contains more than a thousand samples of cereals collected annually from 1978 to 2021. Using biochemical methods and radiography, researchers have identified genetic factors that contribute to resistance to EMSD. As a result, four such varieties of wheat were found.

The researchers also assessed what the weather conditions were like in each year the specimens were collected for the collection. Summarizing all the data, agronomists were able to establish a chain of factors that lead to EMSD. So, for example, scientists were able to prove that damage to grain occurs even before harvest and depends on humidity and temperature. Agronomists have also developed a nine-point resistance scale to help breeders select the right varieties.

“We determined that the biological traumatization of grain in wheat and other crops is the result of EMSD. It can be assessed using the stability scale developed by us. We are conducting research aimed at treating and mitigating the effects of biological trauma that plants suffer from in wet weather. Plant pathologists are encouraged to apply these biochemical criteria to assess crop resistance to ear and grain diseases,” said Rebouh Nazih, PhD, Associate Professor of the Department of Environmental Management of RUDN University.