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Effects of Plant Growth Regulators on Fusarium Head Blight Infection in Spring Wheat

Crop Types
  • Wheat
Collaborating Locations


Two commercially available PGRs, Manipulator™ and Ethrel™, were applied to five spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars which differed in height, FHB resistance level and semi-dwarfing alleles. Results from this study showed Ethrel™ reduced plant height under field and controlled environments conditions. Under field conditions, PGRs did not influence anther retention and FHB infection in spring wheat. In contrast, in controlled environment conditions, Manipulator™ decreased anther retention, while Ethrel™ increased anther retention. Treatment with Manipulator™ showed conflicting results on the accumulation of F. graminearum DNA in the spike. The Ethrel™ treatment showed that accumulation of F. graminearum DNA is genotype specific. Overall, the performance of PGRs on height, anther retention and FHB infection were influenced by environmental conditions. Further research is required to understand the interactions between PGRs, cultivars and environment.


  1. Determine the effect of plant growth regulators on FHB and DON accumulation, plant height and yield;
  2. Determine effects of Manipulator and Ethrel on anther retention in sprng wheat;
  3. evaluate the interaction between plant growth regulators and semi-dwarfing genes in spring wheat.

Key Findings

  • Combined data showed Ethrel™ reduced plant height by 5 cm, while Manipulator™ only slightly reduced plant height
  • PGR application did not have a significant affect on anther retention or FHB infection in any of the 5 tested cultivars
  • Results from this study indicate that growers could choose to grow a taller, FHB resistant variety and use a PGR to control plant height and reduce lodging risk

Key Takeaways

  • PGRs tested did not affect FHB infection
  • It was hypothesized that if breeders could prioritize FHB resistance over plant hieight, it may be possible to make better progrss in improving FHB resistance and the nuse PGRs to manage height
  • Further study is required.


Project Details

Principal Investigator
Dr. Anita Brule Babel
Project Status
Start Date
Completion Date
Funding Partners
MB Agriculture
Total Project Cost
MCA Funding

Field Issues

  • Abiotic Stress,
  • Disease