Project leaf microflora

Last changed: 14 April 2021
a close up of ripe wheat, photo.

Cereal leaf microflora in different agricultural production systems - we investigate implication for biological control of Fusarium.

Fungi within the genus Fusarium cause severe economic losses in cereal production throughout the world, both because of their pathogenic activity and because of their production of toxins that are harmful to humans and animals. Several studies have recently shown lower levels of Fusarium produced mycotoxins in organically produced cereals than conventional production.

In this project we will investigate the possibility that this difference is caused by a more intense competition from microorganisms colonizing the plant surface acting as a natural biological control in organic production systems. Through studies in the field and in the laboratory using molecular tools and growth chamber experiments, we will investigate the composition of the leaf surface microfloral community and the connection and the importance between this microflora and the ability of two selected Fusarium species to grow and develop. The investigations will also give information about cultural practices stimulating a beneficial microflora.

The results will be a contribution to serve as a base for Fusarium control programs based on designing production systems that give the best potential for Fusarium biological control. The project will be accomplished in collaboration with INRA in France.

Involved researchers

Ida Karlsson, Hanna Friberg, Paula Persson (VPE), Christian Steinberg (INRA, France)

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