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Rust Bowl or Breadbasket? Keeping track of wheat rust pathogens in Africa


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Presentation by Dr. David Hodson (CIMMYT, Ethiopia) at Wheat for Food Security in Africa conference, Oct 9, 2012, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Rust Bowl or Breadbasket? Keeping track of wheat rust pathogens in Africa

  1. 1. Rust Bowl or Breadbasket? Keeping track of wheat rust pathogens in AfricaDave Hodson1 and Kumarse Nazari2 1CIMMYT-Ethiopia Email: 2ICARDA Email:
  2. 2. Africa: Critical for Global Rust Control “The kitchen where the pathogen is cooked” P. Njau, KARI “rust is a shifty, changing, constantly evolving Key Driving Factors: enemy. We can never lower our guard .” EC  Continuous wheat : Green bridge Stakman, 1937.  Genetic uniformity of commercial cultivars  High WE DID LOWER OUR GUARD! Rust BUT elevation/high UV research was forgotten in East Africa 1980’s - 2000 radiation (increased mutations). Wide range of environments  Alternate hosts? E.g., Berberis holstii
  3. 3. Out of Africa?: Dangerous Exports East Africa is a 1992/3 1993/4 center for new 1991 1994/5 emerging rust races (Yr9, Ug99 Yr9 1995/6 etc). 1991 Mid 80’s to mid 1986 90’s - Yr9 virulent races caused 1986 significant crop losses all the way Example Losses: from East Africa to Turkey (1992): South Asia USD$ 568 Million Iran (1992-94): USD$ 158 Million
  4. 4. Stem Rust Re-emerges Out of Africa “Ug99” - Uganda 1998/9. 2007 Mutating and migrating (2012: 8 Ug99 races identified in group, present in 11 2006Small wheat areas, countries) small investments in wheat 2006 2009 Spread throughoutbig global 2005 - but problems! Africa and into Asia 1998/9 2001 Further spread is inevitable 2009 >80% of global 2009 commercial wheat 2009 cultivars are susceptible 2000
  5. 5. Global Rust Monitoring: TheCatalyst – “Ug99” Isolate Ug99 – race TTKSK Unique virulence. Large % of commercial cultivars susceptible Realization that we need a global system to detect and monitor new, virulent races of wheat rusts
  6. 6. International Rust Monitoring: Stem Rust Model Country Reports Web portal To Country RustMapper Full GIS Spatial Database Winds Secondary Data •Relies on national Climate, crops etc surveillance •Standard survey protocols Field survey •Added value + Trap Nurseries / •Global Overview Samples plots
  7. 7. Response to Ug99: Progress to date One of the most successful global collaborations around a major crop threat Global awareness on vulnerability of wheat crop (+ rusts in general) Monitoring system in place: current status + monitoring pathogen populations Information systems / tools in place International networks emerging, increased national capacity for surveillance and monitoring New sources of resistance identified Resistant varieties in seed chain (E.g., Ethiopia (EIAR/CIMMYT/ICARDA) 8 new rust resistant varieties; Kenya (KARI/CIMMYT) 8 new rust resistant varieties during 2010-2012)
  8. 8. The Global Surveillance Network Transition from data poor to data rich environment 2007 countries n = 2; 2012 countries n = 28 (12 in Africa) Contributing surveys cover about 20% of global wheat area 2005 2012
  9. 9. Status: Pathogen Monitoring 1999: race TTKSK “Ug99” identified 2012: 8 members of the Ug99 race group – we know what they are and where they are! Spread throughout Africa and into Asia. Further spread very likely Ug99 race group is now in 11 countries
  10. 10. Changing Pathogen Populations 2009/2010 Data Race TTKSK (original “Ug99” [red]) only predominates in Ethiopia Other Ug99 race group races predominate e.g., Sr24 variants
  11. 11. Keeping track of “lots” of dataData management system – The Wheat Rust Toolbox (also South Asia Toolbox) – collaboration with GRRC and SathguruSurveys: 28 countries, 9000+ recordsPathotypes: 21 countries, 1075 isolates
  12. 12. Data Management: Wheat Rust ToolboxNB: Generic - Applicable to all rusts Outputs: • Survey Mapping On-line Data Entry • Pathotypes, +...Smartphone /tablet survey Qualitytool control/publish User Data ExportManagement / Exchange External Applications Crop Problem Dbase e.g., RustMapper (survey, pathotypes, [Trap nursery, Molecular] )
  13. 13. Public Information Systems:WWW Rust Aim:  Single source of up-to-date information for all global wheat rust monitoring activities Content:  Country-specific info: 38 countries  Dynamic tools – Wheat Rust Toolbox driven
  14. 14. Rust / Toolbox –Platform for all rustsAll examples show Yellow RustIncreased focus on other rusts
  15. 15. Summary Now have a fully operational global disease monitoring system. Surveillance and monitoring network, covering 35 countries and a large proportion of the developing world wheat area Tracked the spread and status of important stem rust races e.g., “Ug99 race group". A robust and functional data management system - the Wheat Rust Toolbox - is now in place. Global collaboration is ensuring that key databases are shared and being integrated into different information platforms. Monitoring systems, especially in Africa, are critical and have to be sustained if effective rust control is to be attained.
  16. 16. Key Points Huge potential to increase African wheat production, but there has to be a sustained and major effort to ensure that rusts are controlled and monitored. The fight against rusts is not a battle that can be won with a single round of investments. Currently the African wheat area is small and therefore attracts relatively limited investments. If wheat attains a higher priority more breeding programs can address rust resistance Large wheat areas do NOT automatically equate with increased rust problems. Current, small areas with little research investment cause much greater problems Sustained, effective rust control & monitoring in Africa would result in significant global benefits for food security
  17. 17. Acknowledgments All contributing national partners PBI, University of Sydney Donors: ICARDA  Bill & Melinda Gates CIMMYT Foundation AAFC, Canada  DFID CDL, Minnesota, USA  USAID University of the Free State, South  IFAD Africa GRRC, Aarhus University, Denmark BGRI / Cornell University