U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



2020 The Authors. Journal of Phytopathology published by Wiley-VCH Gmb

DOI: 10.1111/jph.12937


Journal of Phytopathology. 2020;00:1–10. wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/jph


The use of resistant genotypes is the preferred method to control orange rust of sugarcane (Saccharum spp) caused by Puccinia kuehnii. This approach has been adopted in Brazil but outbreaks of the disease on previously resistant varieties showed that the efficacy of this method is limited and requires a better understanding of pathogen diversity. Nevertheless, adequate molecular markers for examining pathogen diversity at population level are not available, which limits the success of orange rust control by genetic resistance. Therefore, two independent investigations were conducted to examine genetic diversity of P. kuehnii from São Paulo state, the most important sugarcane growing state of Brazil. First, simple-sequence repeat (SSR) markers were developed in the present work and genotypic diversity of orange rust isolates from different locations investigated. Second, phenotypic diversity was examined by the single-pustule inoculation technique on P. kuehnii isolates retrieved from three susceptible commercial sugarcane cultivars. A total of 96 SSR markers were generated and tested for this species. Subsequently, 29 isolates of P. kuehnii were fingerprinted with nine SSR markers to estimate the genotypic diversity by neighbour-joining and 3D principal coordinates. The 29 isolates of the pathogen clustered into four main groups, which were identified by three SSR markers (NPRL_PK_108a, NPRL_PK_162_ spka and NPRL_PK_221_spka). Phenotypic data at 21 days after the single-pustule inoculation showed that P. kuehnii from highly susceptible commercial cultivars harboured a small proportion of variants capable of causing disease on resistant cultivars. A differential reaction was demonstrated for the most virulent variant in a repeated experiment confirming the existence of races within P. kuehnii in Brazil.