Monitoring the yellow rust pathogen in Algeria

Abdelkader Benbelkacem

National Agronomic Research Institute of Algeria


Among the many biotic constraints to wheat production in Algeria, rusts and in particular yellow rust (Puccinia striiformis), are among the most prevalent diseases that occur mostly all over the northern part of the country. Yellow rust has become now sporadic due to the exploitation of effective resistant genes in different forms and combinations (from CIMMYT and ICARDA). Earlier, durable resistance was probably due to many genes, such Yr18, Yr9, Yr27 and Yr1.
Yellow rust appeared as epidemic in 2004, over 600 000 ha of bread wheat ; severity exceeded 70%. Yields from affected fields of Hidhab a susceptible variety did not exceed 5.2 q/ha, while resistant cultivars yielded up to 48 q/ha. Monitoring of the pathogen virulence factors and their changes provides basic information for the development of an early warning system. This experiment was carried out in 5 Eastern Algeria locations. 30 lines of a standard set of yellow rust and 14 near-isogenic lines from ICARDA were sown in 2-m rows in 2014 and 2015. According to the results, virulence on Heines Kolben (Yr2), Kalyansona (Yr2), Lee (Yr7), Avocet R (YrA), Federation*4/Kavkaz (Yr9), Yr6/6*Avocet ?S?, Yr7/6*Avocet ?S?, Yr9/6*Avocet "S", Yr17/6*Avocet "S", TP1295 (Yr25) and YrSU was common during those two seasons. The frequency of virulence on plants with Yr2, Yr6, Yr7, Yr9 or YrA and Yr27 was up to 80%. No virulence was observed on plants with Yr1, Yr3, Yr4, Yr5, Yr8, Yr10, Yr15 and Yr18 genes. This material was extensively used in our breeding programs and several new cultivars are in the on farm trials where a participatory selection approach is used. All resistant and performing new varieties are being spread for replacement of most old susceptible ones.