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Generating a rapid and low-cost diagnosis of fungi on wheat

Crop Types
  • Wheat
Collaborating Locations


Management strategies are being challenged by the rapidly evolving and changing populations of these fungi, which are overcoming disease resistance genes and may be acquiring fungicide tolerance. In addition, these diseases can be caused by several different fungal species as well as different strains and races within those species. This is a major challenge for producers and breeders, because not all wheat disease resistance genes or fungicides will be effective across all fungal species, strains, or races.
MALDI-TOF is the “gold standard” used by hospitals to identify microbes that cause human infection and disease because it is highly accurate and is one of the most efficient and cost effective methods. MALDI-TOF is rapid, sensitive, and economical in terms of both labor and costs, which are <1$ per sample.


  1. Construct a ‘reference panel’ of Fusarium and rust fungi
  2. Optimize sample preparation and generate MALDI- TOF profiles for the ‘reference panel’
  3. Detailed profiling of the ‘reference panel’ using genetics, genomics, and analytical chemistry
  4. Evaluate the ability for MALDI-TOF to differentiate Fusarium and rust fungi in 'validation panels'

Project Details

Principal Investigator
Dr. Sean Walkowiak
Project Status
Start Date
Completion Date
Funding Partners
Total Project Cost
MCA Funding