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White rust of Crucifers

The Disease

White rust or white blister caused by the oomycete Albugo candida (Pers.)(O.) Kunze is an important disease of crucifer (Brassicaceae) crops and weeds worldwide. White rust is an obligate parasite that attacks vegetative and flowering structures of the plants and can cause yellow lesions on the upper surface and white pustules (mainly on the underside) of leaves and can cause malformation of inflorescences that are known as stagheads.

Dispersal and infection are favoured in cool and humid conditions in spring and autumn. Dispersal is mainly done by wind and water.

Several species of Albugo can attack Brassicaceae crops and weeds, but Albugo candida is the main species identified in Brassica crops. This species has been subdivided in different races or pathotypes: race 2 is common in B. juncea (brown or Indian mustard), race 7 in B. rapa (turnips, pak-choi) and race 9 in B. oleracea (cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts).

White rust in cabbage White rust in mustard (Brassica juncea) White rust in mustard

Summary of work at Warwick HRI (previously Horticulture Research International)

  • Extensive work done on Arabidopsis thaliana / Albugo interactions (see Prof Eric Holub’s page for more information)
  • We have studied interactions between Arabidpsis lyrata and white rust in the NERC funded project ‘Assessing the impact of plant mating system and ploidy on adaptation to parasitism in changing environments’.
  • Identification of sources of resistance to white rust race 9 of B. oleracea and genetic mapping.

Current work at the School of Life Sciences

We are searching for resistance to white rust of mustard (B. juncea) and developing tools for studying the interactions between A. candida and B. juncea and B. rapa. Current funding is from the BBSRC project ‘Developing Genetics and Genomics Interface to Develop Strategies for Sustainable Use of Resistance to White Rust in Oilseed Mustard (Brassica juncea)’