FUNCTIONAL DIVERSITY OF FUNGI ASSOCIATED WITH DURUM WHEAT ROOTS IN DIFFERENT CROPPING SYSTEMS
Differences in pea (Pisum sativum L.) and chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) microbial compatibility and/ or their associated farming practices may influence root fungi of the following crop and affect the yield. The main objective of this research was to explain the difference in durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L.) yield the year after pea and chickpea crops through changes in the functional diversity of wheat root fungi. The effect of fungicides used on chickpea on the root fungi of a following durum wheat crop was studied using plate culture and pyrosequencing. Pyrosequencing detected more Fusarium spp. in the roots of durum wheat after fungicide-treated chickpea than in non-fungicide treated chickpea. Plate culture revealed that the functional groups of fungi responded differently to fungicide use in the field but the effect on total community was non-significant. Highly virulent pathogens were not affected, but antagonists were suppressed. More fungal antagonists were detected after the chickpea CDC Luna than CDC Vanguard. Fungal species responded differently to the use of fungicides in vitro, but the aggregate inhibition effect on antagonists and highly virulent pathogens was similar. The effect of chickpea vs. pea previous crop and different chickpea termination times on root fungi of a following durum wheat crop was studied. The abundance of Fusarium spp. increased after cultivation of both cultivars of chickpea as compared to pea according to pyrosequencing and was negatively correlated with durum yield. Plate culture analysis revealed that fungal antagonists were more prevalent after pea than both cultivars of chickpea and chickpea CDC Vanguard increased the abundance of highly virulent pathogens. The abundance of highly virulent pathogens in durum wheat roots was negatively correlated to durum yield. Early termination of chickpea did not change the community of culturable fungi in the roots of a following durum crop. It is noteworthy that Fusarium redolens was identified for the first time in Saskatchewan and its pathogenicity was confirmed on durum wheat, pea and chickpea. The classical method of root disease diagnostics in cereals is based on the examination of the subcrown internode. I evaluated the method by comparing the fungal communities associated with different subterranean organs of durum wheat. The fungal community of the subcrown internode was different from that of roots and crown, suggesting cautious use of this method.
Fungal Functional Diversity, Fungal Ecology, Fungal Metagenomic, Fungal Endophytes, Fungal Pathogens, Soil-Borne Diseases, Pulse Rotation, Foliar Fungicide Application, Pea (Pisum sativum L.), Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), Durum Wheat (Triticum turgidum L.), Pyrosequencing, Plate Culture, Biocontrol, Common Root Rot, Crown Rot, Fusarium redolens, Fusarium spp., Cochliobolus sativus, Subcrown Internode.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Food and Bioproduct Sciences