AWC - Funded Research

Fusarium graminearum in Alberta wheat and corn: how bad is it really?

AWC contribution: $50,000.00


Fusarium graminearum is a regulated pest listed on the Alberta Pests Act. There is evidence that the distribution and severity of F. graminearum in Alberta is increasing. It is difficult to accurately pinpoint F. graminearum distribution from seed or grain testing data because test results are not precisely linked to a field location, but rather to a postal code or terminal delivery.  Therefore, this research proposes to complete a comprehensive, random and representative survey to characterize the current F. graminearum situation in Alberta.


  1. Quantify Fusarium graminearum populations in Alberta wheat and corn fields
  2. Measure toxin levels in Alberta wheat samples
  3. Characterize the chemotype(s) of F. graminearum isolates in Alberta
  4. Determine where F. graminearum is commonly found versus not commonly found

Benefit to producers:

  • Allow producers to utilize management practices aimed at avoidance in areas where the fungus is not commonly found
  • Help prepare/warn producers for/of the disease in areas where it is commonly found
  • Increased knowledge of the chemotype ratio and distribution in Alberta to help producers be aware of any shift to a chemotype that may be more difficult to control
  • Provide data on mycotoxin levels in Alberta wheat sample


Dr. Michael Harding is a Research Scientist in Plant Pathology with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry stationed at the Crop Diversification Centre South in Brooks, Alberta. He grew up on a mixed farm in southern Alberta and now works for Alberta Ag in research, extension and surveillance of diseases on cereal, oilseed, pulse and horticultural crops.