United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit, 1301 Ditto Ave., Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD 21702-5023.
Previously, we hypothesized that summer “extreme” diurnal temperature highs in the southeastern United States were responsible for the yearly absence or delay of soybean rust development until fall. Utilizing temperature-controlled growth chambers, a diurnal temperature pattern of 33°C high and 20°C low reduced urediniospore production by 81%. However, that study did not consider the influence of frequency of extreme temperatures on soybean rust. We now report that a temperature high of 35°C for 1 h on three consecutive days, initiated 15 days after inoculation, when lesions had formed, reduced urediniospore production by 50% and required 9 to 12 days for sporulation to resume once the extreme temperature highs ceased. Furthermore, three consecutive days in which the temperature high was 37°C, beginning immediately after inoculation and subsequent dew period, reduced lesion numbers by 60%. The combined effects of reduced numbers of lesions and urediniospores per lesion caused by extreme temperature highs can account for observed absence or delay of soybean rust development in the southeastern United States until fall. A comparison of frequency of extreme temperature highs with numbers of counties reporting presence of soybean rust from 2005 to 2012 verified that extreme temperature highs may be largely responsible for absence or delay of soybean rust development. This is the first report showing the effect of frequency of extreme temperature highs on development of soybean rust. Because the south-to-north progression of soybean rust is required for the disease to occur in the major soybean-production regions of the United States, temperatures in the southeastern United States have a major effect on the entire U.S. soybean industry.