rust on grapevine Copyright: © Dr. Marco Löhrer

Rust diseases are one of the economically biggest challenges in plant cultivation worldwide leading each year to considerable yield losses. Asian soybean rust abbreviated ASR, caused by Phakopsora pachyrhizi, is a prominent example for these devastating diseases, which is intensively studied in the Schaffrath lab. Recently, another Phakopsora species, P. euvits causing Asian grapevine rust abbreviated AGR, has gained considerable attention in Brazil. Similar to
the situation in soybean, grapevine cultivars with resistance to all isolates of the fungi are absent and information on the infection process is limited.

The Amorim lab at Sao Paulo University is currently investigating AGR with the aim to reduce yield losses and to minimize fungicide treatments. Prof. Schaffrath was invited to Sao Paulo early this year to help in analyzing the infection process. In the frame of the funding initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in Germany which intends to support the implementation of the National Research Strategy BioEconomy 2030 in an international context, both labs succeeded in getting funded for collaborative R&D project. This aim of this project is to join expertises of both lab to better understand the infection process of AGR and develop sustainable plant protection strategies.