Leaf rust (Puccinia triticina Eriks) is the most common rust disease of wheat in wheat-producing areas of Ethiopia. The use of cultivars with durable resistance is the most economical way of controlling the disease. Field experiments were conducted at Ambo Plant Protection Research Center, Ethiopia during 2013 to 2014 main cropping seasons to reveal variability for field based slow rusting resistance to leaf rust among 18 improved wheat cultivars grown in Ethiopia. Parameters used as criteria to identify slow rusting included final rust severity (FRS), coefficient of infection (CI), relative area under disease progress curve (rAUDPC) and infection rate (Inf-rate). Among these parameters, FRS, CI and rAUDPC were found to be reliable to assess slow rusting in the cultivars. The results revealed that wheat cultivars Pavon 76, Africa Mayo, Bonny, Galili, Qulqulu, Hawi and Senqegna had low disease severities (< 30%) with moderately susceptible reactions, lower rAUDPC values (>30%) and CI (< 20) and were identified to have good level of slow rusting resistance. Cultivars Kubsa, Galama and PBW 343 had moderate values for slow rusting parameters and were identified as possessing moderate level of slow rusting. The slow rusting cultivars identified from the current study can be used for further manipulation in wheat improvement programs.
Key words: Leaf rust, Puccinia triticina, resistance, slow rusting, wheat.
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