Wheat blast is a fearsome fungal disease of wheat. It was first discovered in Paraná State of Brazil in 1985. It spread rapidly to other South American countries such as Colombia, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina, where it infects up to 3 million hectares and causes serious crop losses. Wheat blast was also detected in Kentucky, USA, in 2011.
In February 2016, wheat blast was spotted in Bangladesh– its first report in Asia. Wheat is the second major food source in Bangladesh, after rice. The blast disease has, so far, caused up to 90% yield losses in more than 15000 hectares. Scientists fear that the pathogen could spread further to other wheat growing areas in South Asia.
Here is a link of a PREPRINT of an article which is a success story of our primary response to the fearsome wheat blast pathogen. It was a fantastic collaboration of 30 researchers from 7 countries of 4 continents.
[Communicated by Professor (Dr.) Tofazzal Islam at the Department of Biotechnology, BSMRAU, BD]