Message from Ronnie Coffman, Vice Chair of the BGRI
A happy belated new year to all, and I hope the first few months of 2010 are going well. I am pleased to circulate the second quarterly e-newsletter of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative. We launched the first e-newsletter in December 2009, and since then we have received constructive feedback and a number of updates from BGRI members for inclusion in this edition. Thank you for your support.
As you know, we are preparing for the upcoming BGRI 2010 Technical Workshop in St. Petersburg, 30-31 May. About 250 people have registered for the BGRI workshop. We expect an engaging meeting. You may view the program for the BGRI 2010 Technical Workshop here: http://globalrust.org/.
I hope you enjoy the newsletter, and I look forward to seeing you in St. Petersburg.
Warm regards, Ronnie Coffman, Vice Chair Borlaug Global Rust Initiative
How Imminent a Threat is Ug99 to Pakistan and India?, by David Hodson, Wheat Rust Disease Global Programme, AGP Division, UN Food & Agriculture Organization
At present, we have no confirmed reports of stem rust race Ug99 in either Pakistan or India. However, both Pakistan and India are a cause for concern for several reasons, and we are keeping a careful eye on the situation. Colleagues in both countries are well prepared and undertaking close monitoring of the wheat areas for rusts.
Since Ug99 was first identified in Uganda in 1999 it has moved on the winds to Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen and, most recently, Iran. It was first confirmed in Iran in 2007 and re-confirmation was obtained in 2009. At present this virulent race of stem rust does not seem to have established a strong presence in Iran, as only trace amounts have been detected late in the wheat-growing season with no subsequent damage to crops. Drought conditions and other factors are likely to have played a role in this current lack of establishment in Iran. However, the concern is that in time this status in Iran could change, and analysis of regional wind patterns indicate that the pathogen could move in the direction of Pakistan and India. There is also a possibility that winds could move the pathogen directly into southern Pakistan from Yemen or even the horn of Africa; however this would only occur as a rare event with low probability.
The other important factor to consider is that we now have different variants of Ug99. Just like flu viruses change and different strains appear, rust pathogens do the same. Four additional variants (races) are now known in the "Ug99 family," some of which are more virulent than the original Ug99 race. At present, we have no confirmation that any of these races have moved out of Africa. However, onward migration of any of these races at some point in the future is likely. Realistically, I believe it is only a matter of time before Ug99 or variants appear in Pakistan or India. However, it is impossible to put any fixed timeline on any such movement; it may (or may not) be several years before any such event. It is also important to note that if movement did occur, then a damaging outbreak of disease is not a certain outcome. The example of Iran illustrates the point: Ug99 has been present but as yet it has not caused any damage.
The eventual outcomes of any disease incursion are difficult to predict, as many interacting factors come into play in determining an outbreak. It is a sliding scale all the way from no significant damage to, in a worst-case scenario, major devastating epidemics. The big cause for concern in both Pakistan and India is the widespread cultivation of wheat varieties that are extremely susceptible to Ug99 or variants. Of major concern is the cultivation of single wheat varieties like Inquilab-91 on millions of hectares in Pakistan and PBW343 on millions of hectares in India; such widespread monoculture of highly susceptible varieties is a real worry.
The other big factors to consider are the environmental conditions, the aggressiveness/competiveness of the pathogen, and the timing of infection. Environmental suitability varies from year to year. In general, wheat stem rust favors warm conditions with adequate moisture. In India and Pakistan, the key wheat producing areas of the Punjab and surrounding regions generally have temperatures too cool to favor stem rust early in the wheat-growing season. Under normal conditions infections could only occur late in the season, hence any damage potential is greatly reduced. However, unusual conditions can occur and chances of infection cannot be totally ruled out.
On pathogen aggressiveness, we do not have as much information as we would like on Ug99 and this is difficult to assess. The original race, Ug99 (race TTKSK), does not seem to have increased as much as originally feared given its highly virulent nature, but conversely a variant of Ug99 (Sr24 variant, race TTKST) in Kenya went from first detection in trace amounts in one year to epidemic proportions the next year. Timing is another difficult area: the earlier the infection the more damaging the disease. This all depends on the environmental conditions and the amount of the disease present at the start of the wheat season. In many of the countries affected by Ug99, infection has only occurred late in the season; but, again, there are exceptions like Kenya (although it must be noted that in Kenya wheat is grown all year round and this facilitates early infection).
The extensive area planted to highly susceptible wheat cultivars does make the wheat crop in both Pakistan and India vulnerable to rust diseases. Colleagues in both Pakistan and India recognize this vulnerability, along with being in the likely path of Ug99, and have been working hard to develop new resistant wheat varieties and prepare for any possible incursion. In India, there is a significant ongoing effort to prepare for any appearance of Ug99, and at least 22 resistant cultivars have been released in to the seed chain (see http://www.dwr.in/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52:dwr-flowerdale-shimla-hp ). In Pakistan, at least two new resistant varieties have been released since 2008.
Apart from stem rust, another rust disease of wheat—yellow rust—is a cause for concern in both Pakistan and India. This threat has been realized, with losses occurring last season. Again the problems arise due to changes in the pathogen virulence, and a new race has appeared that is aggressive and has defeated the resistance of major cultivars like Inquilab-91 and PBW343. Yellow rust is a serious threat (losses of 30-60%+ are possible if conditions are suitable) but it usually appears in extremely good years for the crop, so farmers overall may reap better than average harvests despite heavy local losses occurring (i.e., the season compensates for the disease and the losses are often "hidden" in terms of total production). However, it is not impossible that a major outbreak of yellow rust might cause farmers to replace susceptible cultivars like inquilab-91 and PBW343 before any future outbreak of stem rust can occur. Colleagues in both Pakistan and India will certainly be monitoring the yellow rust situation this season, along with being vigilant for any possible appearance of Ug99 or variants.
David Hodson is the International Focal Point for the Wheat Rust Disease Global Programme of the UN Food & Agriculture Organization. E-mail: David.Hodson@fao.org
BGRI Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum Awards announced. This award, established in 2010, provides professional development opportunities for women working in wheat during the early stages of their career. The award is named after Jeanie Borlaug Laube, mentor to many, and daughter of Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug. Jeanie Borlaug Laube has served as Chair of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative since October 2009.
We received an impressive number of applications from highly qualified students and researchers working in wheat. The five 2010 award winners - Maricelis Acevedo, Esraa Alwan, Jemnesh Kifatew Haile, Jessica Rutkowski, and Hale Ann Tufan - will be honored at the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative Meeting in St. Petersburg in May.
India hosts International Training Program in Wheat Rust Surveillance and Monitoring, 25 February - 14 March 2010. The Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat (DRRW) project in association with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research conducted its first hands-on-capacity building program on wheat rust surveillance and monitoring for SAARC countries during February 25 through March 14, 2010, in India. The program was conducted by DRRW and Directorate of Wheat Research-Karnal and Shimla. The workshop was led by Robert Park from University of Sydney; Gordon Cisar from Cornell University; Dr. A.K. Sharma, Principal Scientist, DWR, Karnal; and Dr. Mohinder Prashar, Principal Scientist at Flowerdale Station, Shimla (India). The trainees for this program converged from Afghanistan (4 participants), Nepal (2 participants), Bangladesh (2 participants) and India (4 participants). The training program was structured to include field visits in India’s different climatic zones and a week-long laboratory training program at DWR Flowerdale Shimla. During the field visits, participants were trained in collection of rust samples, dispatch of rust samples to wheat rust labs, techniques of rust inoculation in the fields, and recording the response of different varieties against different rusts.
FAO's Wheat Rust Disease Global Programme: 2009 Activity Update. In response to the threat posed by new races of wheat rusts, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has established the Wheat Rust Disease Global Programme (WRDGP) to contribute to global food security through the prevention and management of wheat rust diseases and the enhancement of wheat productivity. Within this program, FAO is called upon to coordinate global action in virtue of its status as a neutral forum and through its linkages with rural communities, governments, regional bodies, national and international agricultural research and development institutions and the donor community. The WRDGP is implemented in close collaboration with the BGRI partners to foster cooperation and information sharing amongst the various national stakeholders and the international organizations concerned with wheat rusts. It presently supports 321 wheat-producing countries to enhance their preparedness to prevent and manage the spread of emerging virulent strains of wheat rust diseases. The focus is on capacity building in five thrust areas: (i) national policy for preparedness and contingency planning; (ii) surveillance and early warning systems, including virulence tracking; (iii) fast-track national varietal registration programmes for the release of resistant wheat varieties; (iv) rapid seed multiplication and distribution of quality seeds of resistant varieties; and (v) farm-level wheat rust management through participatory farmer training to reduce risk and improve yields under local farming conditions.
Within the framework of the WRDGP and in close collaboration with its BGRI partners, FAO organized three awareness and contingency planning workshops during 2009. The objectives of these workshops were to raise awareness among key policy-makers and researchers in the countries on the status and risks posed by new wheat rust races, to enhance the collaboration and information exchange at the national, regional and global levels and to support national stakeholders in their preparedness to face the challenges of emerging new rust races.
INRA Morocco organizes a one-day workshop on "Wheat Rusts Awareness and Contingency Planning for Morocco" on 12 March 2010. The main objectives of this meeting were to improve awareness of Moroccan decision makers and stakeholders about the threat of new emerging virulent races, mainly Ug99 and Yr27, and to gather national eminent scientists in the field of rusts to ensure collaborative and complementary research activities. The ultimate goal of this meeting was to establish a contingency plan for Morocco to avert future losses and to implement an anticipatory resistance breeding strategy. To ensure the long lasting success of such plan, regional and international cooperation is critical.
For more information about this meeting, contact Dr. Abdelhamid Ramdani, INRA - CRRA Meknes Morocco (email@example.com).
ICARDA hosts training courses in November/December 2009 on rust race analysis and seedling assessment of wheat rusts. ICARDA organized two training courses in November and December of 2009 covering rust race analysis and seedling assessment of wheat rusts. There were two course components that allowed:
a) in-depth learning on wheat rust race analysis targeting research support staff already involved on race analysis research program in their respective laboratories or are prepared to launch a race analysis program, and b) rapid assessment of wheat rusts at seedling growth stage to eventually conduct seedling test of breeding materials and/or testing of the diagnostic short set of stem rust resistance genes (Sr2, Sr24, Sr31, Sr36, Sr38, Morocco and two commercial cultivars known as sources of Sr31) to detect Ug99 as called "QuickSet."
The courses were monitored by Dr. K. Nazari (ICARDA's cereal pathologist) with contributions from Dr. A. Roelfs (Ex-USDA-ARS rust pathologist), Dr. S. Rajaram, Dr. A. Yahyaoui (ICARDA-CIMMYT Wheat Improvement Coordinator), and cereal pathology research support staff at ICARDA.
Workshop on "Increasing and Protecting Wheat Productivity on Afghan Farms: Accelerating Identification and Adoption of Ug99 Resistant High Yielding Varieties and Improved Management Practices by Afghan Farmers" was held from 21-23 February 2010. The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and held at the FAO Seed and Plant Institute. It was attended by approximately 50 people, representing the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, USDA, USAID, DFID, JICA, several NGOs (Aga Khan, IDEA, French and others), FAO, ICARDA, and CIMMYT.
Two days of the meeting focused mainly on Ug99 and seed production, and the third day focused on how to proceed best and on developing an action plan. It was clear that for the next two or three years there will be not enough seed of Ug99 resistant varieties available in Afghanistan and, therefore, fungicide application is considered. Three Ug99- and yellow rust-resistant varieties have been released but only for one variety (Miquoam 09) are there several tons of seed available. An important outcome of the meeting was that the variety testing and seed multiplication process will be well-coordinated. All lines considered for release will have to be tested in NUT (National Uniform Trial) and FAO will then include only selected lines (after release) into its seed program.
MAIL, USDA and FAO provided key support for this meeting. For more information, about the meeting, contact Hans Braun (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) releases a stem rust resistant variety.Since the outbreak of stem rust race Ug99 in East Africa, KARI has been working to develop a resistant variety for adoption by farmers. This has been difficult due to the high virulence of the race, which has overcome several major genes. In collaboration with CIMMYT and other international research institutes, KARI initiated a screening process to identify resistant varieties to replace the commercial varieties that are very susceptible to Ug99. In 2007, 104 lines selected from the CIMMYT advanced nurseries were planted in an observation nursery in Njoro, of which 33 lines were shown to be well adapted to the Kenyan conditions and also high yielding and resistant to Ug99. These were planted in a replicated trial in four sites in 2008. Seven of the good lines selected from the Advanced Yield Trials (AYT) during 2008 were forwarded to the National Performance Trial Committee (NPTC) for final testing before release as varieties in Kenya. The seven were planted in different parts of the wheat growing areas in Kenya (10 sites) and data on yield, test weight and quality aspects were obtained.
In terms of yield, lines KSRR6 and KSRR7 were the best at 1.7 tons/hectare and 1.6 tons/hectare respectively. They did better than the best check by over 50%. Line KSRR2, which was being evaluated for the second season, performed better than the best check by19% and was released as a variety (Kenya Robin). We are now multiplying the seeds for this variety, which will be available to farmers by October 2010. Two more lines that were also very good will be released early this year. In terms of quality all seven lines in the NPT have flour extraction of above 70%, loaf volume of above 500cc, protein content of above 10%, which are very acceptable for bread making. KSRR6 and KSRR7 will likely be released after another season of testing.
Status of stripe rust (Puccinia striiformis f.sp tritici) on wheat variety PBW 343 in Punjab, India. Wheat variety PBW 343 has been grown in the Punjab since 1995. This variety has occupied more than 90% of the wheat-growing area from 1998 to 2008. Currently, it is grown on approximately 8 million of the 27.8 million ha. of wheat in India, with production shifting to three other PBW varieties in the Northwest Plains Zone (NWPZ). Pathotype 46S119 (Yr9 virulence) was prevalent in 1990s, and PBW 343 was resistant to this pathotype. This variety remained free from stripe rust for 10 years. However, in the 2005-06 crop seasons, the disease was recorded in March in isolated fields, showing infection ranging from 10S-60S due to the appearance of a new pathotype, 78S84 (known as Yr27 virulence). Again, in the years 2006-07 and 2007-08, high infection was recorded in isolated fields at several places, but the disease was not widespread despite the fact that the specific pathotype for which PBW 343 is susceptible was prevalent. Stripe rust inoculum over-summers in high northern hilly areas and high disease was recorded on wheat variety PBW 343 at Dalang Maidan and Keylong in each year since 2006-07, where wheat is grown in summers in the experimental farms. During 2008-09, it was interesting to record that the disease was in high intensity and spread widely in sub-mountainous tracts and subsequently in adjoining areas of the state. In the current year, 2009-10, while the crop is just 3-4 months old, the disease is still not widespread and has been reported from a few isolated fields only.
It could be inferred from perusal of agro-meteorological data since 2005-06 that temperature was a critical deciding factor in the occurrence of stripe rust (see figure above). Both max and min temperatures were higher in the months of December, January and February, which favored the development of pathotype 78S84 during 2005-06 as it was picked up in some fields. Again in the year 2008-09, higher temperatures in these months favored the disease development and it spread widely, resulting in drastic reduction in yields in the fields where disease was in high intensity. Some of the farmers could harvest only 2 tons/hectare as compared to average yield of 4.5 tons/hectare in the state.
Pathotype 46S119 showed a declining trend in both these years due to its requirement of mild temperatures and the large scale cultivation of PBW 343, which is susceptible to 78S84, a higher temperature-loving race.
For more information, contact Drs. Indu Sharma (email@example.com) and Madhu Meeta Jindal (firstname.lastname@example.org), Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab, India.
22 February 2010 - Wired Red Menace: Stop the Ug99 Fungus Before Its Spores Bring Starvation As they queue to fill water jugs from a rusty communal tap, the women of Njoro can’t help but gawk at the odd scene across the road. In a wheat field ringed by barbed wire, a dozen men wearing white polyethylene jumpsuits stand in a tight huddle, eyes fixed on the green-and-amber stalks that graze their knees. They chat in foreign tongues — Urdu, Farsi, Chinese — that are rarely heard here amid the acacia trees and donkey carts of Kenya’s Rift Valley. The men’s hazmat-style safety gear suggests they might be hunting down one of the infamous viruses that flourish in this part of the world — Ebola, perhaps, or Marburg.
11 February 2010 - Science AAAS Armed and Dangerous Fifty years ago, stem rust led to the resistant wheat varieties that fueled the Green Revolution—leading many farmers to believe they were done with Puccinia graminis. But in 1998, a dangerous new strain named Ug99 appeared in Uganda.
Accepted for publication in Molecular Breeding:
"Haplotype Diversity of Stem Rust Resistance Loci in Uncharacterized Wheat Lines"
Long-Xi Yu1, Sixin Liu2, James A. Anderson2, Ravi P. Singh3, Yue Jin4, Jorge Dubcovsky5, Gina Brown-Guidera6, Sridhar Bhavani3, Alexey Morgounov3, Zhonghu He3,7, Julio Huerta-Espino8 and Mark E. Sorrells1*
1Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA; 2Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, 55108, USA; 3International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Apdo. Postal 6-641, 06600 Mexico; 4USDA-ARS, Cereal Disease Laboratory, St. Paul, MN, USA; 5Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis CA 95616, USA; 6USDA-ARS Plant Science Research, Raleigh, NC 27695-7620; 7Chinese Academy of Agriculture Science, Beijing, China; 8Campo Experimental Valle de Mexico INIFAP, Apdo. Postal 10, 56230, Chapingo, Edo de Mexico, Mexico
Abstract Stem rust is one of the most destructive diseases of wheat worldwide. The recent emergence of wheat stem rust race Ug99 (TTKS based on the North American stem rust race nomenclature system) and related strains threaten global wheat production because they overcome widely used genes that had been effective for many years. Host resistance is likely to be more durable when several stem rust resistance genes are pyramided in a single wheat variety, however, little is known about the resistance genotypes of widely used wheat germplasm. In this study, a diverse collection of wheat germplasm was haplotyped for stem rust resistance genes Sr2, Sr22, Sr24, Sr25, Sr26, Sr36, Sr40 and 1A.1R using linked microsatellite or simple sequence repeat (SSR) and sequence tagged site (STS) markers. Haplotype analysis indicated that 83 out of 115 current wheat breeding lines from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) likely carry Sr2. Among those, 5 out of 94 CIMMYT spring lines tested had both Sr2 and Sr25 haplotypes. Five out of 22 Agriculture Research Service (ARS) lines likely have Sr2 and a few have Sr24, Sr36 and 1A.1R. Two out of 43 Chinese accessions have Sr2. No line was found to have the Sr26 and Sr40 haplotypes in this panel of accessions. DArT genotyping was used to identify new markers associated with the major stem resistance genes. Four DArT markers were significantly associated with Sr2 and one with Sr25. Principal component analysis grouped wheat lines from similar origins. Almost all CIMMYT spring wheats were clustered together as a large group and separated from the winter wheats. The results provide useful information for stem rust resistance breeding and pyramiding.
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The BGRI Newsletter is an electronic forum for the exchange of scientific updates, opportunities, and ideas about wheat and the rusts. It is published on a quarterly basis.
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