Rapid isolation and increase of virulent Pgt races and evaluation of germplasm in singlerace field nurseries in Ethiopia
Wheat stem rust is one of the major wheat yield limiting factors in Ethiopia. A stem rust epidemic occurred in the wheat belts of Arsi and Bale zones in the 2013-2014 crop season caused by Pgt race TKTTF that is virulent to the widely grown Ug99-resistant variety Digelu. This epidemic highlighted the need for wheat varieties with resistance to multiple Pgt races. This study was therefore, carried out to evaluate the reaction of the major Ethiopian varieties and advanced breeding lines against the dominant Pgt races in Ethiopia. Races TKTTF, TTKSK, TRTTF and JRCQC were isolated from field samples and multiplied on the susceptible cultivar McNair starting in May 2014. Four wheat stem rust nurseries, each inoculated with a single Pgt race, were established at Kulumsa and monitored from July through October, 2014. Each nursery included 34 entries in two replicates and 137 entries in a single replicate, augmented with six sets of five repeating checks. An additional nursery established at Debre Zeit, containing 551 entries in an augmented design, was evaluated with the epidemic Pgt race TKTTF. These entries included the most relevant Ethiopian bread and durum wheat breeding lines and cultivars, and 34 seedling-susceptible lines to evaluate the race-specificity of adult plant resistance. Stem rust severities for the four races ranged from trace to 80 %. Out of all entries evaluated, 10 were resistant to all four Pgt races, while 11 entries were effective to three of the four races. At Debre Zeit, 31.4% of the entries were resistant to Pgt race TKTTF. This study showed that rapid isolation and increase of Pgt races in Ethiopia is possible to facilitate field screening of breeding lines to select for candidate cultivars with resistance to multiple virulent races of Pgt.