Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

The situation of common wheat rusts in the Southern Cone of America and perspectives for control.

Abstract

Approximately 9 million ha of wheat (Triticum aestivum and T. durum) is sown in the Southern Cone of America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay). Two rust epidemiological zones separated by the Andean mountain range have been described in the region. Presently, leaf rust (caused by Puccinia triticina) is the most important rust disease of wheat. The utilisation of susceptible or moderately susceptible cultivars in a high proportion of the wheat area allows the pathogen to oversummer across large areas, resulting in early onset of the epidemics. Severe epidemics cause important economic losses if chemical control is not used. The pathogen population is extremely dynamic, leading to transitory resistance in commercial cultivars. Lr34 is commonly present in the regional germplasm, but there is limited knowledge about the presence of other genes conferring resistance in cultivars. Genes Lr28, Lr36, Lr38, Lr41, and Lr43 provide effective resistance in the region. The best strategy for the stabilisation of the pathogen population and resistance is considered to be the use of adult plant resistance conferred by minor additive genes including Lr34 and Lr46. Sources of this type of resistance from CIMMYT and the region have been made available to breeding programs in the Southern Cone. Stripe rust (P. striiformis f. sp. tritici) is endemic in Chile where chemical control is required to prevent severe losses in stripe rust susceptible cultivars. Although new virulent races emerge frequently, resistance genes Yr5, Yr8, Yr10, Yr15, and YrSp are currently effective in Chile. Some important stripe rust epidemics have occurred in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Avoiding the use of highly susceptible cultivars appears to be an effective strategy to prevent stripe rust epidemic development in this area. There have been no serious stem rust (P. graminis f. sp. tritici) epidemics for over 2 decades; the disease was controlled by resistant cultivars. The most important genes conferring resistance in Southern Cone germplasm at the present time are probably Sr24 and Sr31. Other effective genes are Sr22, Sr25, Sr26, Sr32, Sr33, Sr35, Sr39, and Sr40. Several stem rust susceptible wheat cultivars have recently been released. The increased cultivation of susceptible cultivars may lead to higher stem rust incidence, increasing the probability of appearance of new virulent races. Since the 1BL.1RS translocation possessing Sr31 is present in a high proportion of the regional germplasm, the possible introduction of stem rust with Sr31 virulence from Africa is of great concern.