Screening of Australian germplasm for resistance to sugarcane smut - SRDC final project report BSS214
Sugarcane smut is a destructive disease that has spread to all commercial sugarcane production areas except Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the east coast of Australia. The disease was recorded for the first time in Australia in July 1998 in the Ord River Irrigation Area (ORIA). The objective of this project was to rate Australian commercial cultivars, advanced selections in the BSES/CSIRO and CSR breeding programs and parental clones for resistance to smut. The ratings will be used to provide smut-resistant cultivars to the ORIA and prepare the east coast industry for a possible incursion.BSES negotiated a contract with the Indonesian Sugar Research Institute (ISRI) to conduct smut resistance screening in Indonesia in 1997 before the incursion in Western Australia. The contract was renegotiated after the incursion to accelerate the testing program. The decision to conduct the testing in Indonesia was made because the quarantine period to move clones to Indonesia was shorter than moving clones to Western Australia. The screening is conducted on Madura Island, which is isolated from commercial cane, and clones can be planted into the smut resistance trials after 1 year in an open quarantine plot. Initially, Indonesia allowed 296 clones that were in the BSES quarantine houses to be screened for resistance with no quarantine period in Indonesia. This allowed BSES to obtain resistance ratings on these clones within 1 year of the incursion of smut into Australia.