- A new study shows that wheat, the world’s most important food crop, is threatened by a blast disease pandemic.
What is Wheat Blast?
- The wheat blast is a fungal disease that affects wheat production in tropical and subtropical regions.
- It is caused by Magnaporthe oryzae pathotype Triticum (MoT). It was identified in Brazil in 1985.
- 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.
- It spread to major-wheat producing areas in the country and then to other South American countries like Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina.
- Asia’s first outbreak of this pathogenic wheat blast was reported in Bangladesh in 2016.
- It is the main cereal crop in India. It is the second most important cereal crop in India after rice.
- Wheat grown in central and western India is typically hard, with high protein and high gluten content.
- It is Rabi Crop which is sown in October-December and harvested during April-June.
- Temperature: Between 23±3°C and for good tillering temperature should range between 16-20°C.
- Rainfall: 50 cm to 100 cm rainfall.
- Soil Type: Soils with a clay loam or loam texture, good structure and moderate water holding capacity are ideal for wheat cultivation.
- Wheat growing states in India: Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Gujarat.