Pest Profile

Head scab


Fusarium scab (or head blight), is a fungal disease on wheat causing significant yield losses and quality reductions. Yield losses are a result of floret sterility and/or small kernals. Quality reductions also may occur if fungal toxins (mycotoxins) are produced in infected seed. The toxins are unacceptable for certain end uses, so toxin-containing grain is downgraded at the market.

Symptoms of Fusarium head blight include tan or light brown lesions encompassing one or more spikelets. Some diseased spikelets may have a dark brown discoloration at the base and an orange fungal mass along the lower portion of the glume. Grain from plants infected by Fusarium head blight is often shriveled and has a white chalky appearance. Some kernels may have a pink discoloration.

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Pest photo source

Erick De Wolf et al. KSU