• cultivar-by-isolate interaction;
  • detached leaf technique;
  • Mycosphaerella graminicola;
  • septoria tritici blotch;
  • wheat

A detached seedling leaf technique was developed to screen for resistance to septoria tritici blotch of wheat and to detect specific interactions between cultivars and isolates. Wheat seedlings were inoculated with spore suspensions of Mycosphaerella graminicola. Detached primary leaves were then placed in a clear plastic box such that their cut ends were sandwiched between layers of agar containing benzimidazole, with a gap below the middle of the leaves. Mean levels of disease were affected by light and temperature, and also by the concentration of benzimidazole, such that higher concentrations resulted in less disease. Second leaves were more susceptible than seedling primary leaves. However, none of these factors affected ranking of disease among cultivars or cultivar-by-isolate interactions. Kavkaz–K4500 1.6.a.4, Synthetic 6x and Triticum macha showed specific susceptibility and resistance to different isolates. The detached leaf technique could be a useful complement to field trials and an alternative to whole seedling assays in assessing cultivar resistance and investigating the genetics of the host–pathogen interaction.