Wheat Blast

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Overview:

Recently, scientists have warned that the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, which is destroying South American wheat crops, could spread worldwide.

About Wheat Blast: 

  • What it is? It is a fungal disease in tropical and subtropical wheat production regions caused by Magnaporthe oryzae.
  • The fungus infects wild and cultivated grasses, most notably rice and wheat.
  • It spreads through infected seeds, and crop residues as well as by spores that can travel long distances in the air.
  • The crop fungi are known to mutate and adapt to new conditions
  • History of the outbreak of this disease
    • Researchers first detected this pathogen in Brazilian wheat crops in the 1980s.
    • Asia’s first outbreak of this pathogenic wheat blast was reported in Bangladesh in 2016.
    • Two years later, an outbreak of this fungus was detected in wheat crops in Zambia, which was the first time the pathogen was detected in Africa.

Key Facts about Wheat

  • It is the second most important cereal crop in India after rice.
  • It is a Rabi crop which requires a cool growing season and bright sunshine at the time of ripening.
  • Temperature: It requires 10-15°C (at the time of Sowing) and 21-26°C during Ripening & Harvesting.
  • Rainfall: Around 75-100 cm.
  • Soil required: Well-drained fertile loamy and clayey loamy.

 


Q1) What is Rabi crop?

Rabi crop is a type of agricultural crop that is sown in the winter season in India, usually between October and December, and harvested in the spring, typically between March and June.

Source: Wheat blast: A fungus that spread to three continents can threaten food security globally