Surveillance and race analysis of stem rust in Kenya for the years 2008 and 2009

Ruth Wanyera

KALRO-Njoro, Kenya

D. Singh, P. Njau, T. Fetch, Y. Jin, D. Hodson, and S. Kilonzo

Limited but targeted stem rust race characterization was undertaken in Kenya in 2004 and 2005 which led to the detection of Ug99 present in Kenya and designation of Ug99 as race TTKS (based on North American stem rust race nomenclature system). Further surveillance in 2006 and 2007 detected variants of TTKS with virulence on Sr24 (TTKST) and Sr36 (TTTSK), respectively. Stem rust surveillance was undertaken at an extended level in 2008 and 2009 within predominant wheat growing regions of Kenya. Three hundred and sixty farms were surveyed from regional districts of Naivasha, Narok, Nakuru, Laikipia, Meru, Uasin-Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo and Trans-Nzioa, during 2008 main season (May to September and December). The information from farmers indicated that more than 95% of these farms were sprayed with fungicides. Despite the use of fungicides, stem rust was detected in 67% of the surveyed farms. Stem rust ranged from trace amount -100% in severity with minimum infection in Naivasha district (40%) and maximum in Narok district (90%). Yellow rust was detected in 22% of the farms. Out of one hundred and twenty-six stem rust samples collected, 37 and 39 (a total of 76 ) samples were sent to Cereal Disease Laboratory (CDL) Minnesota, USA and Cereal Research Laboratory of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada respectively, for race typing using the respective differentials used by these labs. From the 39 collections sent to Canada, 17 (43%) survived, of which majority were typed to TTKST (65%) followed by TTKSK (18%), PTKST (12%) and mixture of TTKST and TTKSK (5%). The CDL typed vast majority of pathotypes as TTKSK (84%) followed by TTKST and TTTSK (7% each). The combined results of two labs indicated that predominant frequency in Kenya in 2008 was TTKSK (51%) followed by TTKST (31%), PTKST (6%) and TTTSK (6%). The frequency of TTKST significantly increased in 2008 compared to 2007 which is not surprising, given that Sr24 carrying wheat cultivar KS Mwamba is cultivated on large acreage in Kenya. In 2009, 262 farms were surveyed from regional districts of Narok, Laikipia, Nyandarua, Meru, Uasin-Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo and Trans-Nzioa. The 2009 season experienced heavy drought in many areas. Nevertheless, stem rust was detected in 79% of the farms with disease severity ranging from trace to 100%. Yellow rust was detected in 15% of the farms. Stem rust infection ranged from 0 to 100% with minimum infection in Nyandarua (18%), Laikipia (42%) and maximum in Uasin-Gishu and Elgeyo (100% each). Out of seventy-four stem rust samples collected, 55 samples were sent to Canada for race typing. Only 20% of the samples survived, of which majority were typed to TTKST (50%), PTKST (34%) and PTKSK (16%). Borlaug Global Rust Initiative 2010 Technical Workshop / Poster Abstracts 7 The 2009 results did not depict real situation of predominance of pathogenic variability because of small sample size, however it provided fair indication that race TTKST is still the most prevalent. This information generated on the distribution of stem rust races, and the incidence of stem rust is important for anticipatory breeding and release of cultivars with effective sources of resistance in Kenya, and at same time mitigating global threat of stem rust by reducing intensity of stem rust inoculum in East Africa.