Yellow Rust (Puccinia striiformis): a Serious Threat to Wheat Production Worldwide

Siham KHANFRI, Mohammed BOULIF, Rachid LAHLALI


Wheat (Triticum sp. L.), as one of the first domesticated food crops, is the basic staple food for a large segment of population around the world. The crop though is susceptible to many fungal pathogens. Stripe rust is an important airborne disease caused by Puccinia striiformis (Pst) and is widespread wherever wheat is cultivated throughout the world, in temperate-cool and wet environments. The causal fungus of stripe rust or yellow rust is an obligate parasite that requires another living host to complete its life cycle. Pst includes five types of spores in the life cycle on two distinct hosts. Stripe rust is distinguished from other rusts by the dusty yellow lesions that grow systemically in the form of streaks between veins and on leaf sheaths. The importance and occurrence of stripe rust disease varies in cultivated wheat, depending on environmental conditions (moisture, temperature, and wind), inoculum levels and susceptible host varieties. Transcaucasia was previously thought to be the center of origin for the pathogen. However, new findings further underlined Himalayan and near-Himalayan regions as center of diversity and a more tenable center of origin for P. striiformis. Long-distance dispersal of stripe rust pathogen in the air and occasionally by human activities enables Pst to spread to new geographical areas. This disease affects quality and yield of wheat crop. Early seeding, foliar fungicide application and cultivation of resistant varieties are the main strategies for its control. The emergence of new races of Pst with high epidemic potential which can adapt to warmer temperatures has expanded virulence profiles. Subsequently, races are more aggressive than those previously characterized. These findings emphasize the need for more breeding efforts of resistant varieties and reinforcement of other management practices to prevent and overcome stripe rust epidemic around the world.


epidemiology; management; Puccinia striiformis; stripe rust; wheat

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