What new epidemiological knowledge do we have about wheat rusts in the H2020 Rustwatch project?

30 Nov 21Image

What new epidemiological knowledge do we have about wheat rusts in the H2020 Rustwatch project?

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H2020 RustWatch is a 4-year European project, led by the University of Aarhus in Denmark, which aims to develop a new European early warning system for wheat rust diseases (yellow, brown and stem rust), based on a multi-stakeholder and multi-network approach. During the EU VCU Commission on 27/09/2021 and the 6th Conference "Cereal Biotechnology and Breeding" on 3/11/2021, GEVES presented a video and a poster entitled "European rust surveillance supported by rust trap nurseries in wheat VCU trials" to show the importance of the contribution of the European VCU network (18 countries in about 80 sites) in epidemiological monitoring. The poster is available here. See the video:

 For yellow rust, 4 new race names were agreed in 2020 to differentiate variants of the Warrior (-) race, prevalent in the EU, based on the study of differential hosts: with Amboise prevalent in FR, BE, & DE, Kalmar (Syn.Nemo), Benchmark and Warrior (-).  

For stem rust, a geographical expansion and an increase in the frequency of the number of isolates has been observed in recent years, and more particularly in 2021 in France, with 75 new isolates collected., of which 40 analysed A geographical structuring of genetic groups and races is emerging between Eastern Europe and North West Europe with the occurrence of new genetic groups: Clades IV B (TKKTF& TTTTF races) and IV F (TKKTF race). Global warming is expected to increase the development of stem rust in Western Europe. This project has shown that about ¾ of the European varieties are susceptible to these races. If the attacks were to increase and become earlier, the yield losses could be greater, without chemical protection. Therefore, GEVES is considering the possibility of taking into account the evaluation of resistance to stem rust for future registration in the French Catalogue.

The University of Aarhus, in collaboration with GEVES, has integrated the data from the VCU networks into the Wheat Rust Toolbox database to manage the monitoring of rust races. European maps of the races, genetic groups and disease pressures of the 3 rusts are available on the web:   


As this project ends in April 2022, different scenarios are discussed to reflect on the sustainability of this new European wheat rust early warning system 

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