Stem rust (caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici), leaf rust (P. triticina), and stripe rust (P. striiformis f. sp. tritici) rank among the most important diseases of wheat worldwide. The development of resistant cultivars is the preferred method of controlling rust diseases because it is environmentally benign and also cost effective. However, new virulence types often arise in pathogen populations, rendering such cultivars vulnerable to losses. The identification of new sources of resistance is key to providing longlasting disease control against the rapidly evolving rust pathogens. Thus, the objective of this research was to evaluate the wild wheat relative Aegilops longissima for resistance to stem rust, leaf rust, and stripe rust at the seedling stage in the greenhouse. A diverse collection of 394 accessions of the species,mostly from Israel, was assembled for the study, but the total number included in any one rust evaluation ranged from 308 to 379. With respect to stem rust resistance, 18.2 and 80.8%of accessions were resistant to the widely virulent U.S. and Kenyan P. graminis f. sp. tritici races of TTTTF and TTKSK, respectively. The percentage of accessions exhibiting resistance to the U.S. P. triticina races of THBJ and BBBD was 65.9 and 52.2%, respectively. Over half (50.1%) of the Ae. longissima accessions were resistant to the U.S. P. striiformis f. sp. tritici race PSTv-37. Ten accessions (AEG-683-23, AEG-725-15, AEG-803-49, AEG-1274-20, AEG- 1276-22, AEG-1471-15, AEG-1475-19, AEG-2974-0, AEG-4005-20, and AEG-8705-10) were resistant to all races of the three rust pathogens used in this study. Distinct differences in the geographic distribution of resistance and susceptibility were found in Ae. longissima accessions from Israel in response to some rust races. To P. graminis f. sp. tritici race TTKSK, populations with a very high frequency of resistance were concentrated in the central and northern part of Israel, whereas populations with a comparatively higher frequency of susceptibility were concentrated in the southern part of the country. The reverse trend was observed with respect to P. striiformis f. sp. tritici race PSTv-37. The results from this study demonstrate that Ae. longissima is a rich source of rust resistance genes for wheat improvement.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This research was supported in part by the Lieberman-Okinow Endowment at the University of Minnesota and through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development to Cornell University for the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat (DRRW) Project.