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Keywords:

  • fitness;
  • Triticum aestivum ;
  • virulence;
  • yellow rust

Stripe rust, caused by Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici, is one of the major fungal pathogens of wheat. A new pathotype was introduced to Australia in 2002 and several derivative pathotypes were detected in subsequent seasons. It has been suggested that the severity of stripe rust outbreaks in Australia since 2002 could be as a result of traits other than virulence in the pathogen population. This study was conducted to investigate the hypothesis that the stripe rust pathogen population dominant in Australia since 2002 was better adapted to warm temperature conditions compared to previous pathogen populations. Sixteen pathotypes were selected to examine the influence of two contrasting temperature regimes during the 24 h incubation (10°C and 15°C) and the subsequent post-inoculation (17°C and 23°C) periods on latent period and infection efficiency on four susceptible wheat cultivars. In addition, the effect of two contrasting incubation temperatures on urediniospore germination was examined. The results indicated that pathotypes of P. striiformis f. sp. tritici detected after 2002 did not show evidence of adaptation to high temperatures, which suggests that other factors contributed to the observed increased aggressiveness.