Several pathogens (e.g. Puccinia recondita, P. graminis, Blumeria graminis, Septoiia spp. and Fusarium spp.) may seriously undermine the stability of durum production in Italy, depending on the occurrence of certain environmental conditions. Parallel to the official network of field evaluation, field epidemiological tests have been performed for many years at a number of locations covering the most important durum cultivation areas. Under field conditions, diseases, if any, were caused by populations of pathogens that probably differed between years and locations.
Several varieties, both native and imported, were found to possess satisfactory levels of resistance to one or more pathogens. Among native materials, a few landraces (Saragolla bianca, Triminia, Nummina, Marzuolo C.) showed resistance or tolerance to brown rust (P. recondita), while one variety (Lambro) exhibited a consistent resistance to both brown rust and powdery mildew (B. graminis). Among varieties derived from hybridization programmes with exotic material, Grazia and Ofanto showed a good tolerance to powdery mildew, and Creso and Plinio to brown rust. In summary, and with the approximation allowed by field evaluations, the exotic germplasm did not appear to have contributed original sources of resistance.
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