Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Plant and Crops Science
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: August 7, 2003
Publication Date: May 1, 2004
Citation: Kolmer, J.A. Wheat rusts. Encyclopedia of Plant and Crops Science. Available: http://dekker.com. Technical Abstract: The rusts of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) are among the most common and important diseases of wheat on a world-wide basis. Wheat stem rust is caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, leaf rust is caused by Puccinia triticina, and stripe rust is caused by P. striiformis f. sp. tritici. When wheat cultivars are fully susceptible and the weather is ideal for repeated cycles of rust infection, wheat rusts can cause severe loss of yield, sometimes destroying whole fields of wheat. The three wheat rusts are genetically diverse, consisting of many different pathogenic races. Widespread use of wheat cultivars with specific rust resistance genes select races of wheat rusts that have virulence to the resistance genes, resulting in rapid changes in rust races. Wheat cultivars that are resistant when initially released, can lose their resistance due to the selection of virulent rust races. Sources of partial resistance to the wheat rusts that appear to be non race-specific are available and offer long lasting, economical control of these important diseases.