Feb. 10th, 2013: Eritrea – First report of race TTKSK (Ug99) but non Ug99 race group isolates predominate

Photo credit: W Khoury, FAO

Surveys undertaken by Dr Asmelash Wolday of NARI  in the highland wheat growing areas of Eritrea during October 2012 found all three wheat rusts (stem, leaf and yellow) to be widespread. Stem rust was the predominant rust observed on the surveys. Stem rust was recorded at 77 of the 102 survey sites (75%), with moderate or high (>20%) severity recorded at 45 of the 77 confirmed sites (58%). leaf rust exhibited a similar distribution pattern, being observed at 51 out of the 102 survey sites (50%). Moderate or high (>20%) severity of leaf rust was observed at 48 of the 51 sites (94%) where leaf rust was present.  Yellow rust was also recorded at 51 out of the 102 survey sites (50%), with moderate or high (>20%) severity observed at 41 out of the confirmed 51 sites (80%).

Stem rust samples collected on the surveys were analysed using SNP marker diagnostics by Dr Les Szabo at the USDA-ARS, Cereals Disease Lab, Minnesota. A total of 23 samples were tested, with 1 sample being  positive for the Ug99 race group stage 1 assay and postulated to be race TTKSK in the stage 2 assay. This is the first time that race TTKSK has been reported in Eritrea. The majority of the samples tested (n=18) were found to be non Ug99 races and for 4 samples inconclusive results were obtained.

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