Simulation modelling of yield losses caused by wheat stem rust

Laetitia Willocquet, Vittorio Rossi, Serge Savary

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


Stem rust, or black rust, of wheat, caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, has recently re-emerged in several parts of the world, with epidemics occurring in eastern Africa, as well as northern and southern Europe. Damage mechanisms from disease dynamically affect the physiology of the crop as it grows and develops, and as the epidemic progresses, leading to yield losses in the stem rust-diseased wheat stand. Process-based agrophysiological models that include disease-induced damage mechanisms can help to better understand the physiological processes leading to yield losses, and to inform strategic decisions such as breeding strategies. Such models have not been developed for wheat stem rust so far. Two damage mechanisms for stem rust, light stealing and assimilate diversion, were incorporated in the agrophysiological simulation model WHEATPEST. The model, tested from experimental field data retrieved from the literature, provides a satisfactory representation of the system, although consistently underestimates relative yield losses by about 6.9%, resulting in relative yield losses between 17% and 56%. Analyses highlight the importance of the diversion of assimilates toward the pathogen in the magnitude of yield loss. Considering only the reduction of green leaf area would underestimate damage from stem rust by at least threefold. The analysis also shows the importance of the dynamic interplay between disease and crop growth, especially the dynamics of leaf area, on yield loss. Directions to consider additional damage mechanisms are proposed, and perspectives for future research, especially in relation to plant breeding strategies under climate change, are offered.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-12
Numero di pagine12
RivistaPlant Pathology
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici
  • damage mechanism
  • process-based model
  • stem rust
  • wheat
  • yield loss


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