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Investigations into the Characteristics of Historic Barley Varieties with Reference to Fungal Diseases and Physiology

Muhammed, Amal Abbas (2012) Investigations into the Characteristics of Historic Barley Varieties with Reference to Fungal Diseases and Physiology. Doctoral thesis, University of Sunderland.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)


The aim of this study was to characterise modern and historic barley varieties for agronomic and growth characteristics and to assess their resistance to Fusarium and mildew diseases.
Barley is a major agricultural crop cultivated throughout the world providing an important source of energy and protein for humans and animals. To achieve its potential, however, it must be carefully managed to avoid diseases particularly those caused by fungi which can cause serious economic losses and affect food safety and quality.
Contemporary barley varieties have been selected for yield and disease resistance. However, long term resistance to disease is increasingly difficult to achieve as microorganisms mutate and maintain their virulence. Investigating the potential of historic barley varieties as a genetic resource for future developments is one approach to obtaining novel attributes which may have been overlooked when breeding focused on yield rather than character of barley and on disease resistance.
To examine the characteristics and disease resistance of historic barley varieties a series of investigations was conducted. Initially a screening was initiated by growing thirteen historic barley varieties and two modern barley varieties in a field trial in 2009. Growth features, yield and symptoms of mildew and Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) were scored and compared. This field experiment was repeated in 2010 with six of these varieties at the John Innes Centre by deliberately exposing the plants to F. culmorum Fu 42. A further experiment was conducted at the same time by growing seven varieties in glasshouse conditions at the University of Sunderland under inoculated and uninoculated conditions.
From both growing seasons clear differences were found for the level of F. culmorum infection between the different barley cultivars with infection levels in heads ranging from 16% for Chevalier and 86.4% for Tipple barley varieties respectively. Nitrogen increased the level of FHB in all varieties possibly because
of increased plant leaf number, tillers and humidity within the environment around the plant.
Mycotoxin analysis showed that F. culmorum infection resulted in mycotoxin contamination of all varieties. However, levels of mycotoxin were significantly lower in Chevalier barley compared to other barley varieties including the two modern varieties, Tipple and Westminster. Observations using scanning electron microscopy indicated a different pattern of fungal growth in Chevalier barley with limited fungal development on both external and internal surfaces compared to other susceptible varieties.
In general resistance against FHB disease depends on variable responses including plant physiology and morphology, antifungal compounds or resistance genes. Different flowering dates or flowering periods could be also considered reasons for different infection levels. However, in this study the duration of anthesis was not assessed and could be an important factor. Further experiments to identify the flowering times of different varieties could be considered for further research.
The lower levels of disease associated with lower levels of mycotoxins and a reduced fungal development in Chevalier barley indicated that this variety has a strong resistance against FHB disease. This may be because of its late flowering and its tall height minimising colonisation from the soil. However, Chevalier barley was found to be very susceptible to powdery mildew disease, particularly in glasshouse studies.
The potential of Chevalier barley to produce good malt was indicated when compared to modern varieties suggesting that Chevalier may be a valuable breeding stock for future developments.

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Depositing User: Barry Hall


Item ID: 3532

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Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2013 11:27
Last Modified: 20 May 2019 13:32


Author: Amal Abbas Muhammed

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Sciences > Environment
Sciences > Health Sciences

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