Many aspects of the wheat blast disease epidemiology and pathogen ecology are still unknown. Although several sources of primary inoculum have been proposed for wheat blast, the role and importance of each source has not been established. Evolutionary processes such as genetic diversity and competitive ability are still unknown. On the other hand, host resistance is one of the most effective means of controlling blast. Unfortunately, resistance genes are generally lacking for this disease. These important issues are addressed through the understanding of wheat blast ecology and epidemiology, and through the identification of genetic resources for blast resistance. Cruz has produced publications and workshops to inform scientists, extension specialists, farmers and other first responders about the risk associated with wheat blast and about disease management strategies.
Cruz’s international program has provided disease survey and management information to wheat producers, diagnosticians, extension specialists, breeders, research plant pathologists, and students in Bolivia. Cruz has also established outreach and engagement activities and provided educational and training resources for Bolivian scientists. Major outbreaks of wheat blast have been reported in recent years and Cruz has been invited to participate in discussions to delineate options to help recover the wheat industry in Bolivia.