Evaluation of durum wheat landraces to yellow rust (Puccinia striiformis Westendorf f. sp. tritici)
Yellow rust (Puccinia striiformis Westendorf f. sp. tritici) is an important disease on wheat worldwide and especially in the highlands of West and Central Asia. Wheat landraces are composed of complex, variable, genetically dynamic and diverse populations, in equilibrium with both biotic and abiotic stresses prevailing in their environment. A germplasm collection consisting of 380 durum wheat accessions conserved at National Plant Gene Bank (Seed and Plant Improvement Institute, Iran) with worldwide origins, along with four check varieties were screened for resistance to yellow rust, and were also evaluated for several drought adaptative traits under rainfed conditions during 2009-10 cropping season at Sararood agricultural research station, Kermanshah, Iran. The study was conducted to quantify the phenotypic diversity and exploring durum accessions for yellow rust resistance, and to characterize the agronomic profile of different subsets of accessions for reaction to local yellow rust races. High natural infection, caused by the predominant virulent races of 6E8A+ and Yr27+, was experienced as shown by the 100 S reaction of the check bread wheat ?Sardari? and several highly susceptible accessions. The tested accessions exhibited significant variation in yellow rust severity, ranging from highly resistant to highly susceptible. Approximately 12.1% of accessions were found to be resistant to yellow rust, 9.5% were moderately resistant, 10.5% were moderately susceptible and 67.9% were susceptible. The germplasm showed a relatively modest response to yellow rust as expressed by a decrease in 1000-kernel weight (TKW) and a lower yield of the susceptible vs. resistant subsets by 11.4% and 19.9%, respectively. A comparison of foreign vs. Iranian resistant accessions, revealed higher yield productivity, higher TKW, and shorter plant height for the foreign accessions. Durum germplasm may constitute valuable genetic material for breeding new durum varieties characterized by high yield productivity under rainfed conditions and with adequate resistance to yellow rust.