Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Phakopsora meibomiae
(soybean rust)



Phakopsora meibomiae (soybean rust)


  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Documented Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Phakopsora meibomiae
  • Preferred Common Name
  • soybean rust
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Fungi
  •     Phylum: Basidiomycota
  •       Subphylum: Pucciniomycotina
  •         Class: Pucciniomycetes
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • P. meibomiae is a rust native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas that has a broad host range among legume species. It infects soyabean (Glycine max), but is less aggressive on that hos...

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report


Top of page
P. meibomiae on Pisum sativum: lesions and uredinia on a leaf.
TitleP. meibomiae on Pisum sativum
CaptionP. meibomiae on Pisum sativum: lesions and uredinia on a leaf.
CopyrightYoshitaka Ono
P. meibomiae on Pisum sativum: lesions and uredinia on a leaf.
P. meibomiae on Pisum sativumP. meibomiae on Pisum sativum: lesions and uredinia on a leaf.Yoshitaka Ono
P. meibomiae on Neonortonia weightii: lesions and uredinia on leaf.
TitleP. meibomiae on Neonortonia weightii
CaptionP. meibomiae on Neonortonia weightii: lesions and uredinia on leaf.
CopyrightYoshitaka Ono
P. meibomiae on Neonortonia weightii: lesions and uredinia on leaf.
P. meibomiae on Neonortonia weightiiP. meibomiae on Neonortonia weightii: lesions and uredinia on leaf.Yoshitaka Ono
P. meibomiae on Phaseolus lunatus: lesions and uredinia on a leaf.
TitleP. meibomiae on Phaseolus lunatus
CaptionP. meibomiae on Phaseolus lunatus: lesions and uredinia on a leaf.
CopyrightYoshitaka Ono
P. meibomiae on Phaseolus lunatus: lesions and uredinia on a leaf.
P. meibomiae on Phaseolus lunatusP. meibomiae on Phaseolus lunatus: lesions and uredinia on a leaf.Yoshitaka Ono
P. meibomiae on Desmodium sp.: urediniospores.
CaptionP. meibomiae on Desmodium sp.: urediniospores.
CopyrightYoshitaka Ono
P. meibomiae on Desmodium sp.: urediniospores.
UrediniosporesP. meibomiae on Desmodium sp.: urediniospores.Yoshitaka Ono
P. meibomiae on Lablab purpureus: uredinial paraphyses arisen from peridioid pseudoparenchyma.
TitleUredinial paraphyses
CaptionP. meibomiae on Lablab purpureus: uredinial paraphyses arisen from peridioid pseudoparenchyma.
CopyrightYoshitaka Ono
P. meibomiae on Lablab purpureus: uredinial paraphyses arisen from peridioid pseudoparenchyma.
Uredinial paraphysesP. meibomiae on Lablab purpureus: uredinial paraphyses arisen from peridioid pseudoparenchyma.Yoshitaka Ono
P. meibomiae on Phaseolus lunatus: telium.
CaptionP. meibomiae on Phaseolus lunatus: telium.
CopyrightYoshitaka Ono
P. meibomiae on Phaseolus lunatus: telium.
TeliumP. meibomiae on Phaseolus lunatus: telium.Yoshitaka Ono


Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Phakopsora meibomiae (Arthur) Arthur 1917

Preferred Common Name

  • soybean rust

Other Scientific Names

  • Aecidium crotalariae Henn.
  • Aecidium crotalariicola Henn. 1899
  • Malupa vignae (Bres.) Y. Ono, Buritica & J. F. Hennen 1992
  • Phakopsora aeschynomenes (Arthur) Arthur 1917
  • Phakopsora crotalariae Arthur 1917
  • Phakopsora diehlii Cummins 1974
  • Phakopsora psoraleae H.S. Jackson & Holw. 1931
  • Phakopsora vignae (Bres.) Arthur 1917
  • Physopella aeschynomenes (Arthur) Arthur 1907
  • Physopella concors (Arthur) Arthur 1917
  • Physopella meibomiae Arthur 1917
  • Uredo aeschynomenes Arthur 1905
  • Uredo concors Arthur 1915
  • Uredo teramni Mayor 1913
  • Uredo vignae Bres. 1891

International Common Names

  • English: soyabean rust
  • Spanish: roya de la soja
  • French: rouille du soja
  • Chinese: dà do ù xiù jún
  • Portuguese: ferrugem da soja

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: ferrugem da soja
  • Germany: Sojabornenrostpilz
  • Japan: daizu-sabibyokin

EPPO code

  • PHAKME (Phakopsora meibomiae)

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page

P. meibomiae is a rust native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas that has a broad host range among legume species. It infects soyabean (Glycine max), but is less aggressive on that host than the Asian soyabean rust species, Phakopsora pachyrhizi, which has invaded and spread widely throughout the Americas. Due to the fact that the American species has not caused epidemics on soyabean in South America or invaded North America, it can be considered to be much less invasive than the Asian species. Given its broad host range, the possibility exists that strains of P. meibomiae could be a threat to other legumes cultivated in warm parts of the world.

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Fungi
  •         Phylum: Basidiomycota
  •             Subphylum: Pucciniomycotina
  •                 Class: Pucciniomycetes
  •                     Order: Pucciniales
  •                         Family: Phakopsoraceae
  •                             Genus: Phakopsora
  •                                 Species: Phakopsora meibomiae

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page

Two phakopsoroid fungi were found on legume plants in the Americas at about the same time that Phakopsora pachyrhizi was described on Glycine max (soyabeans) and Pachyrhizus erosus in Asia (Sydow and Sydow, 1915). One on Lablab purpureus was named Uredo concors (Arthur, 1915), and later Physopella concors (Arthur, 1917a). Another on Eriosema sp., Phaseolus spp., Teramnus uncinatus and Vigna spp. was first identified as Uredo vignae, a name based on a uredinial fungus on Vigna marina collected in São Tome, and later named as Phakopsora vignae (Arthur, 1917b). Both fungi were known only in the uredinial form and no telial stage had been found when Arthur made nomenclatural changes in 1917. Subsequently, both fungi were considered to be conspecific with P. pachyrhizi (Arthur, 1925; Hiratsuka, 1935).

The first reported telia of the fungus, referred to as P. vignae, were discovered on Canavalia villosa in Guatemala (Cummins, 1943c). Although Cummins (1943c) noticed morphological differences between P. vignae and P. pachyrhizi and questioned their taxonomic identity, he did not make any taxonomic change. An additional Phakopsora had been found on Desmodium incanum in Puerto Rico and named P. meibomiae (Arthur, 1917a, b). Cummins (1978) treated both P. vignae and P. meibomiae as synonyms of P. pachyrhizi, although he stated the need for more detailed study to confirm this conclusion. As a result, rust fungi on cultivated soyabeans, observed for the first time in 1976 in Puerto Rico (Vakili and Bromfield, 1976) and in 1979 in Brazil (Deslandes, 1979), were reported under the name of P. pachyrhizi.

After extensive morphological studies of a large number of specimens, Ono et al. (1992) concluded that P. meibomiae in the Americas and P. pachyrhizi, at that time only in Asia, Oceania and Africa, are distinct species. Their taxonomic decision was supported by the results of extensive cross inoculations with isolates from various legume species (Bromfield, 1984) and by an isoenzyme study in which only 7% of the alleles were in common between American and Asian Phakopsora isolates from soyabean (Bonde et al., 1988). Further molecular examination (Frederick et al., 2002; Anderson et al., 2008) supports the distinction of these two species. The literature published prior to 1992 remains confusing in that both rusts are called P. pachyrhizi, and one must note the origins of isolates studied in order to determine the identity.

Ono et al. (1992) also concluded that Phakopsora diehlii on Aeschynomene spp. and Phakopsora crotalariae on Crotalaria spp., both widely distributed in the Americas, are conspecific with P. meibomiae. Inoculation tests have shown several species of Crotalaria to be hosts for isolates of the rust from soyabean (Ono et al., 1992).


Top of page

Spermogonia and aecia are unknown.

Uredinia on adaxial and abaxial leaf surfaces, mostly on the abaxial surface (hypophyllous), minute, scattered or in groups on discoloured lesions, subepidermal in origin, paraphyses arising from peridioid pseudoparenchyma and hymenium, opening through a central aperture, pulverulent, pale cinnamon-brown. Paraphyses cylindric to clavate, (10-)15-55(-64) x 6-12 µm, thin-walled laterally, thickened apically (up to 12 µm). Urediniospores sessile, obovoid to broadly ellipsoid, 16-31 x 12-24 µm. Spore wall approximately 1 µm thick, minutely and densely echinulate, colourless to pale yellowish-brown. Germ pores four to eight (rarely 10), mostly scattered on, but sometimes on and above, the equatorial zone.

Telia hypophyllous, often intermixed with uredinia, pulvinate, crustose, chestnut-brown to chocolate-brown, subepidermal in origin, one to four (or five) spore-layered, chestnut-brown above, paler below. Teliospores angularly subglobose, oblong to ellipsoid, more or less regularly layered in rows or irregularly arranged, 12-26(-28) x 6-12(-14) µm. Wall uniformly 1.5-2 µm thick, slightly to strongly thickened apically (up to 6 µm) in uppermost spores, yellowish-brown to light chestnut-brown.

For additional descriptions and illustrations, see Bonde and Brown (1980) and Ono et al. (1992).


Top of page

P. meibomiae, described initially under a number of different names, is distributed widely in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas (Ono et al., 1992), but not in North America, north of Mexico (Cummins, 1978; BPI, 2009). P. meibomiae, and not Phakopsora pachyrhizi, was found on wild legumes in a recent survey in Mexico and Central America (Hernandez, 2005).

Reports of P. meibomiae on Desmodium species in Asia are attributed to Phakopsora mangalorica or P. pachyrhizi by Ono et al. (1992). Rust reported on Crotalaria incana and Glycine max in Hawaii could have been the result of invasion by either P. meibomiae or P. pachyrhizi (Killgore and Heu, 1994). The molecular analysis of the genomes of two Hawaiian isolates using simple sequence repeat markers (Anderson et al., 2008) showed their similarity to other P. pachyrhizi isolates.

Distribution Table

Top of page

The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

North America

MexicoRestricted distributionArthur, 1917a; Arthur, 1917b; León-Gallegos & Cummins, 1981; Arthur, 1905; Cummins, 1974; Stevenson, 1975; Cummins, 1978; Ono et al., 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000
USARestricted distributionCABI/EPPO, 2000
-FloridaPresentHarmon et al., 2005
-HawaiiPresentCABI/EPPO, 2000
-KentuckyPresentHershman et al., 2006

Central America and Caribbean

BarbadosPresentBaker and Dale, 1948; CABI/EPPO, 2000
BelizePresentOno et al., 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000
Costa RicaPresentSydow, 1925; Stevenson, 1975; Bromfield, 1984; Ono et al., 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000
CubaPresentStevenson, 1975; Ono et al., 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000; Martínez de la Parte et al., 2015
Dominican RepublicPresentKern et al., 1933a; Stevenson, 1975; Ono et al., 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000
GuatemalaPresentCummins, 1943a; Cummins, 1943b; Stevenson, 1975; Cummins, 1978; Ono et al., 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000
HondurasPresentBPI, US National Fungus Collections
PanamaPresentHernández et al., 2007
Puerto RicoPresentArthur, 1917a; Arthur, 1917b; Arthur, 1915; Stevenson, 1918; Seaver and Chardon, 1926; Roure, 1963; Stevenson, 1975; Vakili and Bromfield, 1976; Cummins, 1978; Vakili, 1979; Ono et al., 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000
Trinidad and TobagoPresentArthur, 1922; Baker and Dale, 1951; Ono et al., 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000
United States Virgin IslandsPresentCABI/EPPO, 2000

South America

ArgentinaPresentHernandez and Hennen, 2002
BoliviaPresentJackson, 1931; Ono et al., 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000
BrazilRestricted distributionCABI/EPPO, 2000
-Minas GeraisPresentViégas, 1945; Deslandes, 1979; Hennen et al., 1982; Ono et al., 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000
-Rio de JaneiroPresentArthur, 1917b; Thurston, 1940; Viégas, 1945; Gjaerum, 1978; Hennen et al., 1982; Ono et al., 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000As Phakopsora crotalariae
-Rio Grande do SulPresentLindquist & Costa Neto, 1964; Hennen et al., 1982; CABI/EPPO, 2000As Phakopsora crotalariae
-Santa CatarinaPresentGjaerum, 1978As Phakopsora crotalariae
-Sao PauloPresentHennings, 1908; Dietel, 1899; Viégas, 1945; Gjaerum, 1978; Hennen et al., 1982; Ono et al., 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000As Phakopsora crotalariae
ChilePresentOno et al., 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000
ColombiaPresentBuriticá & Pardo-Cardona, 1996; Kern et al., 1933b; Mayor, 1913; Kern and Whetzel, 1930; Dennis, 1970; Bromfield, 1977; Hepperly and Victoria, 1980; Bromfield, 1984; Ono et al., 1992; Buriticá, 1993; Pardo-Cardona, 1993; CABI/EPPO, 2000
EcuadorPresentSydow, 1939; Ono et al., 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000
VenezuelaPresentKern and Thurston, 1944a; Kern and Thurston, 1943; Joerstad, 1960; Ono et al., 1992; CABI/EPPO, 2000

Risk of Introduction

Top of page In any region where soyabean [Glycine max] production is of economic importance, care must be taken not to introduce virulent/aggressive races from other soyabean-growing areas. In particular, the reciprocal introduction of strains of the soyabean rusts between Asia and the Americas must be avoided.


Top of page

Vakili (1979) surveyed regions on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico for Phakopsora on legumes. The rust now known to be P. meibomiae occurred predominantly in interior valleys that had average annual temperatures between 17 and 230C, and an average annual precipitation of 170 to 260 mm. In these valleys, the perennial Lablab purpureus was heavily infected throughout the year, during both dry and rainy seasons. In a later survey, little or no rust was found on L. purpureus at sea level, and little was found at elevations less than 100 m, which was apparently due to higher temperatures and/or lower precipitation (Vakili, 1981).

Habitat List

Top of page
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page

In the field, P. meibomiae infects and sporulates on 51 species in 20 genera of the subfamily Papilionoideae of the Fabaceae (Ono et al., 1992), with Aeschynomene americana, Canavalia villosa, Crotalaria anagyroides, Lablab purpureus, Phaseolus coccineus, Phaseolus lunatus and Phaseolus vulgaris being the principal hosts.

Neonotonia wightii is one of several alternate hosts of P. meibomiae in Brazil (Carvalho and Figueiredo, 2000). 

In addition to these naturally-infected hosts, the following legume species have been shown to be susceptible to this rust species by artificial inoculations: Alysicarpus vaginalis; Cajanus cajan; Cassia occidentalis; Clitoria ternatea; Coronilla varia; Crotalaria spectabilis; Kummerowia stipulacea; Kummerowia striata; Lupinus albus; Lupinus luteus; Melilotus officinalis; Pisum sativum; Pueraria phaseoloides; Sesbania exaltata; Sesbania sericea; Trifolium incarnatum; Trifolium repens (Rytter et al., 1984); Calopogonium mucunoides; Crotalaria grantiana; Crotalaria juncea; Macroptilium atropurpureum; Macroptilium lathyroides; Vigna mungo; and Vigna aff. wilmanii (Ribeiro do Vale et al., 1985); Vigna unguiculata; and Phaseolus aff. longepedunculatus (Vakili and Bromfield, 1976). Although the level of susceptibility observed was low for some species, other isolates of the fungus or other test conditions might have produced more disease.

See Ono et al. (1992) for additional hosts, based on reports and specimens in collections.



Growth Stages

Top of page Vegetative growing stage


Top of page

Infections occur mostly on leaves, often on petioles, and less frequently on stems. On susceptible species/cultivars, infections result in small yellowish-brown or greyish-brown spots or lesions (TAN-type), which, on soyabean [Glycine max], are delimited by the vascular bundles. On some hosts, spots are round rather than angular (Vakili and Bromfield, 1976). Pustules of urediniospores are formed on both the adaxial and abaxial surfaces of lesions, but are more frequent on the abaxial surface. The angular lesions coalesce, turn dark-brown and are covered by buff or pale-brown spore masses as sporulation progresses. When resistant species/cultivars are infected, minute angular reddish-brown spots (RB-type) appear, on which no or only a few uredinial pustules are formed. Sporulation on the RB-type lesions is much less than on the TAN-type lesions (Vakili and Bromfield, 1976; Bromfield et al., 1980; Bonde et al., 2006). Later in the season, lesions may become dark reddish-brown and crust-like; these contain subepidemal telial clusters. The telial stage has been found only occasionally on a few species and not on cultivated soyabeans in the field (Ono et al., 1992).

List of Symptoms/Signs

Top of page
SignLife StagesType
Leaves / abnormal colours
Leaves / abnormal leaf fall
Leaves / fungal growth
Leaves / necrotic areas
Leaves / yellowed or dead
Stems / mould growth on lesion

Biology and Ecology

Top of page

For many years, the American P. meibomiae was considered to be the same species as the Asian Phakopsora pachyrhizi thus, the biology of the American fungus has not been fully investigated. It is assumed that the biology of the Asian fungus, which threatens soyabean crops worldwide, is basically applicable to the American fungus.

Clear differences between P. meibomiae and P. pachyrhizi exist in their host ranges, relative virulence and aggressiveness to soyabeans [Glycine max] (Ono et al., 1992). P.  meibomiae is apparently unadapted to soyabeans and is significantly less virulent and aggressive to that host than P. pachyrhizi is. Nevertheless, the effects of temperature on urediniospore germination and germ tube growth in P. meibomiae on soyabean does not appear to differ from that of the Asian species. Mean optimum temperatures for germination and germ tube growth of one American isolate were 230C and 20-220C, respectively, with a range for both processes of between 11 and 300C (Bonde et al., 2007). At one field test site in Puerto Rico, lesions developed on various hosts in 3-7 days, uredinia after 6-12 days, and sporulation after 7-14 days (Vakili and Bromfield, 1976). Differences in virulence among the three isolates of the American rust on the species and cultivars tested indicated that pathogenic variation exists within P. meibomiae.

Dufresne et al. (1987) compared telial production between Taiwanese and Puerto Rican isolates of soyabean rust under laboratory conditions. The two isolates were cultured on ‘Williams’ soyabeans at two temperatures and three light intensities. The Puerto Rican isolate, P. meibomiae, produced telia after 34 and 35 days at 10 and 15°C, respectively, whereas the Taiwanese isolate, P. pachyrhizi, produced telia after 21 and 30 days, respectively. At low light intensity and 100C, the Taiwanese and Puerto Rican isolates produced telia after 29 and 33 days, respectively; at intermediate light intensity after 26 and 36 days, respectively; and at high light intensity after 22 and 34 days, respectively. Thus the Asian rust generally produced telia sooner than the American rust did at these low temperatures; the American isolate matured sooner only at 150C, under low light. The Taiwanese isolate also produced larger and lighter-coloured lesions with a higher percentage containing telia; the Puerto Rican isolate only caused the RB-type of lesions.

Because both species survive and spread well in the uredinial form, the existence and role of the sexual forms and the identity of a possible alternate host have not been recorded or investigated. Bonde et al. (1988) observed isozyme uniformity among Asian isolates, as well as among those from America representing P. meibomiae, which suggests an absence of sexual recombination. Races of the Asian P. pachyrhizi, on the other hand, have been identified in Taiwan (Yeh, 1983), so new genetic combinations may be generated there. Variation in the American species has not been examined.

Physiology and Phenology

The American soyabean rust has been described as “less virulent” (Vakili and Bromfield, 1976; Ono et al., 1992) and “less aggressive” (Bonde et al., 2006; Rossman, 2009) than the Asian species on soyabean. The former character can be measured in terms of the lesion type on susceptible soyabean cultivars; RB, a somewhat hypersensitive host response to infection, versus TAN, where development appears unchecked for Asian isolates (Bonde et al., 2006). The latter character is measured in rates of development on the infected host, with lesions of the more aggressive fungus increasing in size more rapidly and producing greater numbers of uredinia (Bromfield et al., 1980). Greater numbers of uredinia are presumed to produce more spores, thus enabling the fungus to spread wider and faster on the same or different plants.

The American fungus could also be considered as 'less invasive'. Despite a similar urediniospore morphology (Bonde and Brown, 1980) and a longer period of existence on legumes in South and Central America and Caribbean islands, presumably subject to the same winds and storms that brought P. pachyrhizi to the USA within a few years of its arrival in South America (Schneider et al., 2005), P. meibomiae has not been reported from the USA, either on native legumes or on introduced species such as G. max.


Top of page
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page

Natural Dispersal

Urediniospores are distributed by the wind locally and over long-distances, over land (Stavely and Pastor-Corrales, 2005). Intercontinental movement of spores of Phakopsora pachyrhizi is apparently due to major air currents, including hurricanes (Schneider et al., 2005). Krupa et al. (2006) determined that urediniospores of P. pachyrhizi were transported in the troposphere from southern Texas or the Yucutan Peninsula of Mexico before being deposited in raindrops in east Texas and from the Gulf Coast of the USA to locations in the upper Midwest. The highly similar spores of P. meibomiae (Bonde and Brown, 1980) could be transported in a similar manner, although the extent of their survival during transport and deposition might differ.

Vector Transmission

Not reported.

Accidental Introduction

Hartman and Haudenshield (2009) found that urediniospores of P. pachyrhizi can be carried on clothing from North America to Europe; the same means of transport between continents can be expected for those of P. meibomiae.

Pathway Vectors

Top of page
VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Clothing, footwear and possessionsUrediniospores Yes Yes Hartman and Haudenshield, 2009
WaterUrediniospores Yes Stavely and Pastor-Corrales, 2005
WindUrediniospores Yes Yes Stavely and Pastor-Corrales, 2005

Impact Summary

Top of page
Economic/livelihood Negative

Impact: Economic

Top of page

Kuchler et al. (1984) analysed the economic consequences if a virulent race of the soyabean rust fungus became established in the USA, using an econometric-simulation model under two alternative environmental and grower-response assumptions. Total losses to consumers and other sectors of the USA economy were forecast to exceed US$ 7.2 billion/year, even with a conservative estimate of potential damage, while profits to some soyabean farmers and producers of other feed grains would rise. However, the rust would not become a serious obstacle to soyabean production unless virulent races were introduced to the Americas from Asia. Since that has happened in this century, the full extent of the impact of the Asian rust on soyabean production in countries such as Brazil and the USA is still undetermined. Any additional effect of P. meibomiae is likely to be minor.

Vakili and Bromfield (1976) noted various levels of rust disease on other cultivated legumes in Puerto Rico, but did not discuss their possible impact. Significant sporulation occurs on Phaseolus lunatus (lima bean) (Vakili, 1979). Introduced to new areas with suitable environmental conditions, the American species could apparently produce significant disease on certain crops.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Has a broad native range
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Host damage
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
Impact mechanisms
  • Pathogenic
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field


Top of page

Bonde and Brown (1980) provided SEM pictures of uredinia and urediniospores; however, these are not useful for differentiating between the two Phakopsora species (P. meibomiae and Phakopsora pachyrhizi) on soyabean [Glycine max]. Ono et al. (1992) identified differences between the two species in telial structures, but these are rarely available in the field. A DNA extraction and PCR amplification protocol was able to rapidly distinguish between P. meibomiae and P. pachyrhizi (Harmon et al., 2005).

Sequences of ITS and LSU regions of rDNA for both P. meibomiae and P. pachyrhizi are available in GenBank for comparison (NCBI, 2009). The immunofluorescence assay, developed by Frederick et al. (2002), can be used to identify either species in infected plant tissue within 5 hours. It was applied in the identification of the Asian rust invading the southern USA (Schneider et al., 2005), Argentina (Ploper et al., 2005) and Uruguay (Stewart et al., 2005). Isozyme analysis can also be used to distinguish between the species (Bonde et al., 1988), but is a slower process using purified isolates. Anderson et al. (2008) have developed primer pairs to analyze whole genomes of soyabean rust isolates using simple sequence repeat markers; these proved to be specific to P. pachyrhizi in that no significant product was amplified from P. meibomiae genomes.

Detection and Inspection

Top of page The pathogen is detected by inspecting the abaxial surface of the leaves for angular necrotic spots, containing uredinial pustules that are powdery and buff or pale-brown.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page

Bacterial pustules caused by Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. glycines and bacterial blight caused by Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. glycinea generate spots similar to those formed by the soyabean rust fungus on leaves. However, the bacterial spots are at first water-soaked in appearance and later ooze out a bacterial slime instead of the powdery spore masses of the rust. The conical uredinia with an apical pore are another distinctive morphological sign of the Phakopsora species on legumes (Vakili and Bromfield, 1976).

The Asian soyabean rust, Phakopsora pachyrhizi, cannot be distinguished morphologically from P. meibomiae in the uredinial form (Bonde and Brown, 1980), but the telial forms differ in that P. pachyrhizi has a greater range of spore layers in the telium, with lighter coloured spore walls, and the teliospores apically thickened up to 6 µm in the uppermost layer (Ono et al., 1992).

Four other Phakopsora species on legumes are accepted by Ono et al. (1992). These are distinguished primarily by their anamorphs. The Malupa anamorph of P. meibomiae differs from Milesia and Physopella in the form of the peridium surrounding the urediniospores (Ono et al., 1992). Cerotelium species on legumes have the same anamorphic uredinial forms as do species in Phakopsora (Ono et al., 1992), but Cerotelium teliospores are produced in discrete short chains within erumpent telia, rather than in uneven layers in telia that remain subepidermal (Cummins and Hiratsuka, 1983; Ono et al., 1992).

Hernandez et al. (2009) provide descriptions, illustrations and other data on other rusts found on legumes in or near the USA.

Prevention and Control

Top of page

Successful rust disease management can be achieved by selecting durable resistant/tolerant cultivars with desirable agronomic properties, employing necessary good husbandry, and applying appropriate fungicides at the correct stages of soyabean growth and disease development. No single measure can provide disease management. In every soyabean-growing area, a specific management programme must be developed according to the economic factors, the type of soyabeans to be grown (grain vs. vegetable), the time when soyabeans are to be grown, climatic conditions, soil types, and the number and frequency of prevalent rust races.

Chemical Control

Asian soyabean rust can be controlled with well-timed applications of fungicides (Osathaphant et al., 1980; Godoy and Canteri, 2004; Miles et al., 2007a). Due to the fact that morphology and infection-related growth of urediniospores of the two species are so similar (Bonde and Brown, 1980; Bonde et al., 2007), the same chemicals and applications should be effective against P. meibomiae under similar conditions.

Host Resistance

Much work is currently being done to select and breed for resistance against Phakopsora pachyrhizi (Pierozzi et al., 2008; Paul and Hartman, 2009). P. meibomiae is less virulent on soy varieties susceptible to both fungi, as well as on those containing genes identified for resistance to the Asian species (Bonde et al., 2006). Some differences were evident between the Puerto Rican and Brazilian isolates of P. meibomiae tested, suggesting effectiveness of the R genes and their availability for breeding resistant varieties if needed. Resistance may need to be found in other crops; genes for resistance to P. pachyrhizi in Phaseolus vulgaris are different from those effective against the common bean rust, Uromyces appendiculatus (Miles et al., 2007b).

Monitoring and Surveillance

Immunofluorescent antisera developed against ungerminated urediniospores of P. pachyrhizii can be used in spore traps to detect airborne spores in the field (Baysal-Gurel et al., 2008). Due to the fact that the same antisera also reacted with P. meibomiae in ELISA and IFSA tests, the American species could be monitored as well, in certain areas, but the use of a more specific agent, such as that developed against germinated spores (Baysal-Gurel et al., 2008), would be necessary where the two species occur together.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

Top of page The specific causes of relative lack of virulence, aggressiveness and invasiveness in P. meibomiae could be compared with the morphologically similar Phakopsora pachyrhizi.


Top of page

Anderson SJ, Stone CL, Posada-Buitrago ML, Boore JL, Neelam BA, Stephens RM, Luster DG, Frederick RD, Pedley KF, 2008. Development of simple sequence repeat markers for the soybean rust fungus, Phakopsora pachyrhizi. Molecular Ecology Resources, 8(6):1310-1312.

Arthur JC, 1905. Leguminous rusts from Mexico. Botanical Gazette (Crawfordsville), 39:385-396.

Arthur JC, 1906. New species of Uredineae IV. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, 33:27-34.

Arthur JC, 1915. Uredinales of Puerto Rico based on collections by F L Stevens. Mycologia, 7:315-332.

Arthur JC, 1917. Uredinales of Porto Rico based on collections by H H Whetzel and E W Olive. Mycologia, 9:55-104.

Arthur JC, 1917b. Relationship of the genus Kuehneola. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, 44:501-511.

Arthur JC, 1922. Uredinales collected by Fred J Seaver in Trinidad. Mycologia,14:12-24.

Arthur JC, 1925. North American Flora. Vol. 7. Part 10. New York, USA: New York Botanical Garden, 669-732.

Arthur JC, 1934. Manual of the Rusts in United States and Canada. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA: Purdue Research Foundation.

Baker RED, Dale WT, 1948. Fungi of Barbados and the Windward Islands. Mycological Papers, CMI, No. 25, 1-26.

Baker RED, Dale WT, 1951. Fungi of Trinidad and Tobago. Mycological Papers, Commonwealth Mycological Institute, 33, 123 pp.

Baysal-Gurel F, Ivey MLL, Dorrance A, Luster D, Frederick R, Czarnecki J, Boehm M, Miller SA, 2008. An immunofluorescence assay to detect urediniospores of Phakopsora pachyrhizi. Plant Disease, 92(10):1387-1393. HTTP://

Bonde MR, Berner DK, Nester SE, Frederick RD, 2007. Effects of temperature on urediniospore germination, germ tube growth, and initiation of infection in soybean by Phakopsora isolates. Phytopathology, 97(8):997-1003.

Bonde MR, Brown MF, 1980. Morphological comparison of isolates of Phakopsora pachyrhizi from different areas of the world. Canadian Journal of Microbiology, 26(12):1443-1449.

Bonde MR, Nester SE, Austin CN, Stone CL, Frederick RD, Hartman GL, Miles MR, 2006. Evaluation of virulence of Phakopsora pachyrhizi and P. meibomiae isolates. Plant Disease, 90(6):708-716.

Bonde MR, Peterson GL, Dowler WM, 1988. A comparison of isozymes of Phakopsora pachyrhizi from the Eastern Hemisphere and the New World. Phytopathology, 78(11):1491-1494

BPI (US National Fungus Collections), 2009. Fungal Databases - Specimens. Beltsville, USA: Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA.

Bromfield KR, 1977. Soybean rust and the pathogen: some needed research. In: Ford RE, Sinclair JB, eds. Rust of soybean - the problem and research needs. Urbana, USA: University of Illinois. INTSOY Series No. 12, 34-39.

Bromfield KR, 1984. Soybean rust. Monograph, American Phytopathological Society, No.11:65 pp.

Bromfield KR, Melching JS, Kingsolver CH, 1980. Virulence and aggressiveness of Phakopsora pachyrhizi isolates causing soybean rust. Phytopathology, 70(1):17-21.

Burdon JJ, Marshall DR, 1981. Evaluation of Australian native species of Glycine for resistance to soybean rust. Plant Disease, 65(1):44-45

Burdon JJ, Marshall DR, 1981. Inter- and intra-specific diversity in the disease-response of Glycine species to the leaf-rust fungus Phakopsora pachyrhizi. Journal of Ecology, 69(2):381-390

Buriticá P, 1993. Legada a Colombia de enferndades exóticas y movimiento a las distintas zonas productoras. ASCOLFI Informa, 19:47.

Buriticá P, Pardo-Cardona VM, 1993. Flora Uredineana Colombiana. Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Ffcicas ye Naturales (Medellfn), 20:183-236.

CABI/EPPO, 2000. Phakopsora meibomiae. Distribution Maps of Plant Diseases, Map No. 815. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.

Carvalho AA de Jr, Figueiredo MB, 2000. The real identity of the soybean rust in Brazil. (A verdadeira identidade da ferrugem da soja no Brasil.) Summa Phytopathologica, 26(2):197-200.

Chaves GM, Riveiro do Vale FX, 1981. Research on soybean rust in Brazil. Soybean Rust Newsletter, 4:6-10.

Cummins GB, 1943. Descriptions of tropical rusts VI. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, 70:517-530.

Cummins GB, 1943a. Descriptions of tropical rusts V. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, 70:68-81.

Cummins GB, 1943b. Annotated check list and host index of the rusts of Guatemala. Plant Disease Reporter supplement, 142:79-131.

Cummins GB, 1974. Three new taxa of Uredinales. Mycologia, 66:892-894.

Cummins GB, 1978. Rust fungi on legumes and composites in North America. Rust fungi on legumes and composites in North America. University of Arizona Press. Tucson, Arizona, USA, xii + 424 pp.

Cummins GB, Hiratsuka Y, 1983. Illustrated genera of rust fungi. St. Paul, Minn., USA: American Phytopathological Society, v + 152 pp.

Dennis RWG, 1970. Fungus Flora of Venezuela and Adjacent Countries. London, UK: Her Majesty's Sationery Office.

Deslandes JA, 1979. Rust of soybean and other legumes caused by Phakopsora pachyrhizi in Minas Gerais State. Fitopatologia Brasileira, 4(2):337-339

Dietel P, 1899. Uredinales brasilienses, a cl. E. Ule lectae II. Hedwigia, 38:248-259.

Dufresne LA, Bean GA, Bonde MR, Goth RW, 1987. Effects of temperature and light intensity on telia development by Puerto Rico and Taiwan isolates of Phakopsora pachyrhizi, the soybean rust fungus. Plant Disease, 71(7):629-631

Frederick RD, Snyder CL, Peterson GL, Bonde MR, 2002. Polymerase chain reaction assays for the detection and discrimination of the soybean rust pathogens Phakopsora pachyrhizi and P. meibomiae. Phytopathology, 92(2):217-227.

Gjprum HB, 1978. Rust species (Uredinales) on Crotalaria (Fabaceae). Transactions of the British Mycological Society, 70(3):463-466

Godoy CV, Canteri MG, 2004. Protective, curative and eradicative effects of fungicides to control soybean rust caused by Phakopsora pachyrhizi, in greenhouse. (Efeitos protetor, curativo e erradicante de fungicidas no controle da ferrugem da soja causada por Phakopsora pachyrhizi, em casa de vegetação.) Fitopatologia Brasileira, 29(1):97-101.

Harmon PF, Momol MT, Marois JJ, Dankers H, Harmon CL, 2005. Asian soybean rust caused by Phakopsora pachyrhizi on soybean and kudzu in Florida. Plant Health Progress, June:1-4.

Hartman GL, Haudenshield JS, 2009. Movement of Phakopsora pachyrhizi (soybean rust) spores by non-conventional means. European Journal of Plant Pathology, 123(2):225-228.

Hennen JF, Hennen MM, Figueiredo MB, 1982. Index of the rust fungi (Uredinales) of Brazil. Arquivos do Instituto Biologico, 49(Supplement 1):201 pp.

Hennings P, 1895. Fungi goyazenses. Hedwigia, 34:88-116.

Hennings P, 1899. Neue von E. Ule in Brasilien gesammelte Ustilagineen und Uredineen. Hedwigia Beiblatt, 38:65-71.

Hennings P, 1909. Fungi S. Paulenses IV. a cl. Puttemans collecti. Hedwigia, 47:1-20.

Hepperly PR, Victoria J, 1980. Soybean rust on soybean. FAO Plant Protection Bulletin, 28(2):77

Hernández JR, 2005. Update on offshore sources of inoculum. In: Proceedings of the National Soybean Rust Symposium. 25 pp.

Hernández JR, Cline E, Palm ME, Farr DF, McCray EB, 2009. Rust fungi on Fabaceae (legumes) in or near the United States. Maryland, USA: Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory.

Hernandez JR, Hennen JF, 2002. Rust fungi (Uredinales) of Northwest Argentina. Sida, 20:313-338.

Hernández JR, Piepenbring M, Vega Rios MB, 2007. A new species, Dicheirinia panamensis, and new records of rust fungi from Panama. Mycological Progress, 6(2):81-91.

Hershman DE, Bachi PR, Harmon CL, Harmon PF, Palm ME, McKemy JM, Zeller KA, Levy L, 2006. First report of soybean rust caused by Phakopsora pachyrhizi on kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata) in Kentucky. Plant Disease, 90(6):834.

Hiratsuka N, 1935b. Phakopsora of Japan I. Botanical Magazine (Tokyo), 49:781-788.

Jackson HS, 1931. The rusts of South America based on the Holway collections IV. Mycologia, 23:332-364.

Joerstad I, 1959. Uredinales from South America and tropical North America, chiefly collected by Swedish botanists II. Arkiv für Botanik, ser. 2, 4:49-103.

Joerstad I, 1960. Fungi Venezuelani II. Kew Bulletin, 14:46-60.

Keogh RC, 1974. Studies on Phakopsora pachyrhizi Syd.: The causal agent of soybean rust. MS thesis, University of Sydney.

Keogh RC, 1976. The host range and distribution of Phakopsora pachyrhizi in New South Wales. Australian Plant Pathological Society Newsletter, 5:51-52.

Keogh RC, 1978. Studies on the survival, distribution, and host-parasite relationships of Phakopsora pachyrhizi Syd. PhD thesis, University of Sydney.

Kern FD, Ciferri R, Thurston HW Jr, 1933a. The rust flora of Dominican Republic. Annales Mycologici, 31:1-40.

Kern FD, Thurston HW Jr, 1943. Additions to the Uredinales of Venezuela II. Mycologia, 35:434-445.

Kern FD, Thurston HW Jr, 1944a. Additions to the Uredinales of Venezuela III. Mycologia, 36:54-64.

Kern FD, Thurston HW Jr, 1944b. Additions to the Uredinales of Venezuela IV. Mycologia, 36:503-517.

Kern FD, Thurston Jr HW, Whetzel HH, 1933. Annotated index of the rusts of Colombia. Mycologia, 25:448-503.

Kern FD, Whetzel HE Jr, 1930. Uredinales. In: Mycological exploration of Colombia. Journal of Department of Agriculture, Puerto Rico, 14:301-348.

Killgore E, Heu R, 1994. First report of soybean rust in Hawaii. Plant Disease, 78(12):1216

Koch E, Hoppe HH, 1987. Germination of the teliospores of Phakopsora pachyrhizi. Soybean Rust Newsletter, 8:3-4

Krupa S, Bowersox V, Claybrooke R, Barnes CW, Szabo L, Harlin K, Kurle J, 2006. Introduction of Asian soybean rust urediniospores into the Midwestern United States - a case study. Plant Disease, 90(9):1254-1259. HTTP://

Kuchler F, Duffy M, Shrum RD, Dowler WM, 1984. Potential economic consequences of the entry of an exotic fungal pest: the case of soybean rust. Phytopathology, 74(8):916-920

Leon Gallegos HM, Cummins GB, 1981. Uredinales (rusts) of Mexico. Volume II. Uredinales (royas) de Mexico. Volumen II. Secretaria de Agricultura y Recursos Hidraulicos Culiacan, Sinaloa Mexico, 492 pp.

Lindquist JC, Costa Neto JP, 1963. Uredinales de Rio Grande do Sul (Brasil). Revista de la Facultad de Agronomia, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, 39:111-152.

Martínez de la Parte, E., Pérez Vicente, L., García Rodríguez, D., Lorenzo, M. E., Abreu Fundora, J., Sierra Ricabal, P. M., Rodríguez Pérez, A., Martín-Triana, E. L., García Gamboa, D., Ariosa Terry, M. D., Gómez León, Y., Trujillo Rojas, M., Torre Galeano, Y. de la, Santana Torres, Y., Guerrero Barrie, D., 2015. Phakopsora pachyrhizi and P. meibomiae in Cuba: distribution and hosts., 19(3), 221-225.

Mayor E, 1913. Contribution à l'étude des Uredinées de Colombie. Mémoires de la Sociéte des Sciences Naturelles de Neuchâtel, 5:442-599.

McLean RJ, 1981. Studies of resistance in soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) to rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi Syd.). PhD thesis, University of Queensland.

Miles MR, Levy C, Morel W, Mueller T, Steinlage T, Rij Nvan, Frederick RD, Hartman GL, 2007. International fungicide efficacy trials for the management of soybean rust. Plant Disease, 91(11):1450-1458. HTTP://

Miles MR, Pastor-Corrales MA, Hartman GL, Frederick RD, 2007. Differential response of common bean cultivars to Phakopsora pachyrhizi. Plant Disease, 91(6):698-704. HTTP://

NCBI, 2009. Entrez cross-database search engine. Maryland, USA: National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Ono Y, Buritica P, Hennen JF, 1992. Delimitation of Phakopsora, Physopella and Cerotelium and their species on Leguminosae. Mycological Research, 96(10):825-850

Osthaphant P, Pupipat U, Nuntapun M, 1980. Evaluation of five fungicides against soybean rust. In: Second Southeast Asian Symposium on Plant Diseases in the Tropics, Bangkok (Thailand), 20-26 October 1980. 106.

Pardo-Cardona VM, 1993. Roya (Fungi, Uredinales) del herbario MEDEL colectadas en el departamento de Antioquia entre 1927 y 1949. Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Ffcicas ye Naturales (Medellfn), 4:53-68.

Paul C, Hartman GL, 2009. Sources of soybean rust resistance challenged with single-spored isolates of Phakopsora pachyrhizi. Crop Science, 49(5):1781-1785.

Pierozzi PHB, Ribeiro AS, Moreira JUV, Laperuta LDC, Rachid BF, Lima WF, Arias CAA, Oliveira MFde, Toledo JFFde, 2008. New soybean (Glycine max Fabales, Fabaceae) sources of qualitative genetic resistance to Asian soybean rust caused by Phakopsora pachyrhizi (Uredinales, Phakopsoraceae). Genetics and Molecular Biology, 31:505-511.

Ploper LD, González V, Gálvez MR, Ramallo NVde, Zamorano MA, García G, Castagnaro AP, 2005. Detection of soybean rust caused by Phakopsora pachyrhizi in Northwestern Argentina. Plant Disease, 89(7):774. HTTP://

Ribeiro do Vale FX, Chaves GM, Zambolim L, 1985. Host range study of soybean rust in Brazil. Soybean Rust Newsletter, 7:7-9

Rossman AY, 2009. The impact of invasive fungi on agricultural ecosystems in the United States. Biological Invasions, 11(1):97-107.

Roure LA, 1963. The rusts of Puerto Rico. Technical Paper, Agriculture Experiment Station, University of Puerto Rico, 35:1-45.

Rytter JL, Dowler WM, Bromfield KR, 1984. Additional alternative hosts of Phakopsora pachyrhizi, causal agent of soybean rust. Plant Disease, 68(9):818-819

Schneider RW, Hollier CA, Whitam HK, Palm ME, McKemy JM, Hernández JR, Levy L, DeVries-Paterson R, 2005. First report of soybean rust caused by Phakopsora pachyrhizi in the continental United States. Plant Disease, 89(7):774. HTTP://

Seaver FJ, Chardon CE, 1926. Mycology. Scientific survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands: Botany of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands, 8:1-208.

Stavely JR, Pastor-Corrales MA, 2005. Soybean rust. In: Compendium of Bean Diseases (second edition). Schwartz HF, Steadman JR, Hall R, Forster RL, eds. St. Paul, Minnesota, USA: American Phytopathological Society, 40-41.

Stevenson JA, 1918. A check list of Porto Rican fungi and a host index. Journal of Department of Agriculture, Porto Rico, 2:125-264.

Stevenson JA, 1975. The fungi of Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands. Contribution of Reed Herbarium Reed Herbarium. Baltimore, Maryland, USA, No. 23:743 pp.

Stewart S, Guillin EA, Diaz L, 2005. First report of soybean rust caused by Phakopsora pachyrhizi in Uruguay. Plant Disease, 89:909.

Sydow H, 1925. Fungi in itinere costaricensi collecti (pars prima). Annales Mycologici, 23:308-429.

Sydow H, 1939. Fungi aequatoriensis. Annales Mycologici, 37:275-438.

Sydow H, Sydow P, 1902. Einige neue Uredineen. +sterreichische Botanische Zeitschrift, 52:182-185.

Sydow H, Sydow P, 1915. Monographia Uredinearum. Vol. 3. Leipzig, Germany: Fratres Borntraeger.

Thomas HE, 1918. Report of the plant pathologist. Annual Report, Puerto Rican Agriculture Experiment Station 1917, 28-30.

Thurston HW Jr, 1940. The rusts of Minas Gerais, Brazil, based on collections by A S Muller. Mycologia, 32:290-309.

Vakili NG, 1979. Field survey of endemic leguminous hosts of Phakopsora pachyrhizi in Puerto Rico. Plant Disease Reporter, 63(11):931-935

Vakili NG, 1981. Distribution of Phakopsora pachyrhizi on Lablab purpureus in Puerto Rico. Plant Disease, 65(10):817-819

Vakili NG, Bromfield KR, 1976. Phakopsora rust on soybean and other legumes in Puerto Rico. Plant Disease Reporter, 60(12):995-999

ViTgas AP, 1945. Alguns fungos do Brasil IV. Uredinales. Bragantia, 5:1-144.

Yeh CC, 1983. Physiological races of Phakopsora pachyrhizi in Taiwan. Journal of Agricultural Research of China, 32(1):69-74.

Yeh CC, Sinclair JB, Tschanz AT, 1982. Phakopsora pachyrhizi: uredial development, urediospore production and factors affecting teliospore formation on soybeans. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 33(1):25-31

Yeh CC, Tschanz AT, Sinclair JB, 1981. Induced teliospore formation by Phakopsora pachyrhizi on soybeans and other hosts. Phytopathology, 71(10):1111-1112


Top of page

06/11/09 Updated by:

Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory, USDA-ARS, 10300 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705, USA

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map