United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, 1301 Ditto Ave., Fort Detrick, MD 21702.
Although considerable information exists regarding the importance of moisture in the development of soybean rust, little is known about the influence of temperature. The purpose of our study was to determine whether temperature might be a significant limiting factor in the development of soybean rust in the southeastern United States. Soybean plants infected with Phakopsora pachyrhizi were incubated in temperature-controlled growth chambers simulating day and night diurnal temperature patterns representative of the southeastern United States during the growing season. At 3-day intervals beginning 12 days after inoculation, urediniospores were collected from each plant and counted. The highest numbers of urediniospores were produced when day temperatures peaked at 21 or 25°C and night temperatures dipped to 8 or 12°C. When day temperatures peaked at 29, 33, or 37°C for a minimum of 1 h/day, urediniospore production was reduced to 36, 19, and 0%, respectively, compared with urediniospore production at the optimum diurnal temperature conditions. Essentially, no lesions developed when the daily temperature high was 37°C or above. Temperature data obtained from the National Climatic Data Center showed that temperature highs during July and August in several southeastern states were too high for significant urediniospore production on 55 to 77% of days. The inhibition of temperature highs on soybean rust development in southeastern states not only limits disease locally but also has implications pertaining to spread of soybean rust into and development of disease in the major soybean-producing regions of the Midwestern and northern states. We concluded from our results that temperature highs common to southeastern states are a factor in the delay or absence of soybean rust in much of the United States.