M. R. Bonde and
S. E. Nester, USDA, ARS, Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit, 1301 Ditto Ave., Fort Detrick, MD 21702;
W. F. Moore, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Box 9655, Dorman Hall, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State 39762; and
T. W. Allen, Delta Research and Extension Center, Mississippi State University, 82 Stoneville Road, Stoneville 38776
Soybean rust, caused by Phakopsora pachyrhizi, was first discovered in the continental United States in the fall of 2004. The potential for economic loss in the United States hinges largely on whether or not the pathogen can survive winters in the absence of soybean. Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) is known to be a host for P. pachyrhizi in Asia and South America and is widely distributed in the southern United States. This study examined reactions of kudzu collected from several areas of the southeastern United States to three isolates of P. pachyrhizi, one each from Alabama, Louisiana, and Brazil. Susceptible tan (TAN) lesions, resistant reddish-brown (RB) lesions, and immune (IM) response, previously described on soybean, were produced on kudzu based on the evaluation of 125 plants. However, in contrast to soybean, the RB response on kudzu was common, with approximately 50% frequency. IM responses to at least one isolate were observed on five individual plants, and two plants were immune to all three pathogen isolates used in the test. TAN lesions averaged 3.2 uredinia per lesion with an average diameter per uredinium of 121 μm. In contrast, RB lesions had an average of 0.3 uredinia per lesion with an average uredinial diameter of 77 μm. In 25 of 39 (64%) instances in which multiple plants were tested from a site, each reacted the same to the individual pathogen isolates. This suggested a tendency for plants at specific sites to be genetically identical with respect to rust reaction. Only 19 of 125 (15%) individual plants produced a different reaction to one isolate than to the other two isolates. When four kudzu plants previously shown to produce only TAN lesions to P. pachyrhizi isolates Alabama 04-1, Brazil 01-1, and Louisiana 04-1 were inoculated with eight additional isolates from several areas of the world, all 11 isolates produced only TAN lesions. Likewise, when five other plants previously shown to produce only RB lesions when inoculated with the three isolates were inoculated with the 11 isolates, all produced only RB lesions. These results suggest that susceptibility or resistance to P. pachyrhizi in individual kudzu plants often is broad, extending over a wide range of P. pachyrhizi isolates.