Asian soybean rust ( Phakopsora pachyrhizi ) was found for the first time in the United States in Louisiana. While doing a routine inspection of a soybean production field at the LSU AgCenter’s Ben Hur Research Farm, Dr. Ray Schneider, plant pathologist, found what he suspected as Asian soybean rust.

Asian soybean rust is a potentially damaging soybean disease that LSU AgCenter plant pathologists have been monitoring since the disease was first found in the Western Hemisphere (in Brazil) in 2001. The disease was first discovered in Japan in 1902 and has spread throughout Asia and Africa. Yield losses in Brazil, for example, have been as much as 80 percent in individual fields. The disease has been confirmed in all major soybean-producing areas of the world.

As soon as the disease was suspected (Nov 6, 2004), plant pathologists from the LSU AgCenter’s Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology began implementing a response and action plan . This plan was developed in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. A team of APHIS scientists were in the state Nov. 11-12 to work with LSU AgCenter faculty and LDAF regulators to determine the extent of the disease. No regulatory actions were taken.

A national group of plant disease experts converged on the LSU Ag Center November 11, 2004, following confirmation the day before that the Asian soybean rust fungus had arrived in the United States.

Scientists from USDA’s APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) and ARS (Agricultural Research Service) teamed with the LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) personnel to determine how widespread the disease is. In total, more than 30 professionals participated.

The scientists formed four survey groups and traveled to disease-susceptible areas in central and south Louisiana.

The teams searched about a 100-mile radius of Baton Rouge November 11, 2004 and took 65 samples. These included 56 samples from soybean plants and nine from kudzu, an invasive plant prevalent in Louisiana, which can serve as a “host” for the fungus that causes the disease. All of the kudzu samples were negative.

The teams surveyed about 10,000 square miles all together, which included about half of the soybean production areas in the state. They visited 14 parishes in Louisiana and one county in Mississippi.

This photo link will take you to images of the team that inspected 11 sites in Iberia, St. Mary, St. John and St. James parishes in south Louisiana. This team included LSU AgCenter plant pathologist Dr. Ray Schneider (team leader), USDA national program staff scientist Dr. Russ Bulluck, Iowa State University plant pathologist Dr. X.B. Yang and Iowa State University graduate research assistant Oscar Perez-Hernandez.

4/29/2005 8:44:19 PM
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