• durability of resistance;
  • Puccinia triticina

The aim of this study was to investigate the potential diversity and pathogen-specificity of sources of quantitative resistance to leaf rust caused by Puccinia triticina in French wheat germplasm. From a set of 86 genotypes displaying a range of quantitative resistance levels during field epidemics, eight wheat genotypes were selected and challenged in a greenhouse with three isolates of the pathogen, belonging to different pathotypes. Five components of resistance were assessed: infection efficiency, for which an original methodology was developed, latent period, lesion size, spore production per lesion, and spore production per unit of sporulating tissue. High diversity and variability for all these components were expressed in the host × pathotype combinations investigated; isolate-specificity was found for all the components. The host genotypes displayed various resistance profiles, based on both the components affected and the isolate-specificity of the interaction. Their usefulness as sources of quantitative resistance was assessed: line LD7 probably combines diversified mechanisms of resistance, being highly resistant for all the components, but displaying isolate-specificity for all the components; cv. Apache did not show isolate specificity for any of the components, which could be related to the durability of its quantitative resistance in the field over more than 11 years.