Phakopsora pachyrhizi is responsible for Asian Soybean Rust (ASR) and is the major pathogen of soybean, causing severe losses in almost all soybean-growing areas. Nearly 300 billion tons of the legume are produced annually, and used primarily as feedstock and for bioenergy production. Yield damage caused by ASR can be dramatic (reported cases from 60 percent in the US, to total losses in tropical regions). Today, the use of fungicides is the main way to control this disease. So far, breeding approaches to identify durable and race-independent disease resistant germplasm were unsuccessful. In order to sustainably protect soybean against rust disease in the future, a range of different strategies can be foreseen like chemical or biological product application or plant modification by breeding or trait approaches. In all cases, a better knowledge of the biology of P. pachyrhizi could clearly foster disease management programs. Sequencing the ASR fungus genome would also add to the 1000 fungal genome project.
Proposer’s Name: Sebastien Duplessis, INRA (France)