Scientist develops method to prevent rust in wheat

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 12:

A scientist at the NARC has developed a simple method to prevent yellow rust in varieties of wheat. Sarala Sharma, a senior scientist at the Plant Pathology Division of the National Agricultural Research Council has developed a local method to protect wheat plants against yellow rust. The technology is now used to contain rust and also develop rust resistant varieties of wheat in the mid-hilly region. “We had tried our level best to find methods to contain yellow rust at our laboratory at Khumaltar but we were not successful. Later we realised we should identify a technique for its preservation.”

Yellow rust has posed a threat to wheat cultivation in river basin and low and mid-hill region of Nepal. Farmers of hills had faced epidemics in the past and had to bear heavy yield losses. Heavy infection of the rust was noted in a wheat variety Nepal 297 during 2004 on northern part of Kathmandu valley. The farmers need to grow diverse varieties of wheat to manage the disease in the long term. “For this the farmers need to select rust resistant varieties in heavy disease pressure condition either in hot spot or in artificial condition for which viable inoculums are needed for sound screening programme to create heavy rust disease pressure.” “We have been able to preserve rust spores for the first time after 20 years of continued efforts and now we can test the preserved rust to test and find out rust resistant variety of wheat,” she said.