Monitoring of net blotch populations—GRDC

Monitoring of net blotch populations for new virulences of industry significance GRDC-PROC-9176781

This request for tender seeks a supplier to develop tools and methods to phenotype septoria tritici blotch (STB) in wheat and accelerate research progress.

What is STB?

STB is an important stubble-borne foliar disease of wheat. It is also called septoria leaf spot or speckled leaf blotch of wheat. It is caused by the fungus Mycosphaerella graminicola. STB is characterised by necrotic (dead) lesions on leaves and stems that develop after infected cells collapse.

STB currently is the most important disease of wheat in Europe and is among the top three most economically damaging in the United States. The incidence of STB in Australia is highest and most damaging in high and medium rainfall zones causing yield losses up to 50% if left untreated.

STB survives between seasons on wheat stubble. Following rain or heavy dew in late autumn and early winter, wind borne spores are released from fruiting bodies  embedded in the stubble of previously infected plants. These spores can be spread over large distances.

About GRDC

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is a statutory corporation responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing research and development, and delivering improvements in production, sustainability and profitability across the Australian grains industry.

About this RFT

Since STB is a complex and evolving disease it is highly important to identify new genetic sources of resistance and to deploy them through wheat breeding programs.

One bottleneck to the wheat breeding program is the lack of ability to phenotype the disease in research trials (the phenotype is the characteristics of an individual that are created by its genotype, that is, its DNA sequence).

This contract seeks to develop accurate, cost-effective tools and methods to enable the pre-breeding and breeding communities to phenotype STB in wheat and accelerate research progress.

Relation to other programs

The investment in this contract is one of four R&D programs that will build on previous GRDC investments into improving STB resistance and management in wheat. Coordination between these four R&D programs is encouraged to create synergies between the four programs. The three related tender procurements closed in 2022:

  • PROC-9176708 Improving our knowledge of the genetic mechanisms involved in host plant resistance and pathogen virulence of septoria tritici blotch in wheat
  • PROC-9176709 Optimising the use of existing resources to acquire durable resistance to Septoria Tritici Blotch (STB)
  • PROC-9176710 Identifying novel sources of resistance to Septoria Tritici Blotch in Australian and International wheat germplasm

RFT requirements

Applications from international research organisations are welcome. They should clearly demonstrate the impact on STB under Australian conditions and a clear path to market of outputs for Australian grain growers.

Madrigal Communications has significant experience in agriculture and R&D projects.