‘Huge’ diversity in types of yellow rust disease ‘heightens threat it poses’

Yellow Rust spores can be seen bursting out of a wheat leaf from the inside, tearing their way throu

Yellow Rust spores can be seen bursting out of a wheat leaf from the inside, tearing their way through the epidermis. - Credit: Archant

A “huge” diversity of strains of a crop disease means that it is one of the most significant threats to plant health today, a crop scientist says.

Yellow rust in a crop.

Yellow rust in a crop. - Credit: Archant

Paul Fenwick, pathologist with plant breeder Limagrain, believes that the appearance of exotic Warrior races represent a step change in the challenge posed by yellow rust.

“The huge diversity of races within the current yellow rust population means that new virulence’s will appear from the ‘soup’ of pathotypes to match resistance factors in current varieties,” he said. “The fast changing biology of the disease can mean that resistance ratings are quickly out of date and no longer accurately reflect the ability of certain varieties to resist the disease, and this has been seen more than ever in the latest AHDB Recommended List ratings where there have been some big changes in varietal ratings from last season to this one.”

Paul Fenwick, pathologist with Limagrain.

Paul Fenwick, pathologist with Limagrain. - Credit: Archant