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Century-Old Mystery of Puccinia striiformis Life History Solved with the Identification of Berberis as an Alternate Host

May 2010 , Volume 100 , Number  5
Pages  432 - 435

Yue Jin, Les J. Szabo, and Martin Carson

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Cereal Disease Laboratory, University of Minnesota, St. Paul 55108.

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Accepted for publication 7 January 2010.

The life history of Puccinia striiformis remains a mystery because the alternate host has never been identified. Inoculation of grasses using aeciospores from naturally infected Berberis chinensis and B. koreana resulted in infection on Poa pratensis, producing uredinia typical of stripe rust caused by P. striiformis. Analyses using real-time polymerase chain reaction and DNA sequence confirmed the rust fungus as P. striiformis. Pycnia and aecia were produced on B. chinensis, B. holstii, B. koreana, and B. vulgaris after inoculation using germinating telia of P. striiformis f. sp. tritici. Wheat inoculated with aeciospores from B. chinensis resulted in uredinia, which demonstrated that Berberis spp. also serve as alternate hosts for the wheat stripe rust pathogen. The elucidation of the complete life history for P. striiformis f. sp. tritici will provide a powerful tool to rapidly advance our knowledge of the genetics of this rust fungus, and will lead to the development of improved strategies for a better control of stripe rust.

Additional keywords:aecial host, life cycle.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2010