The Iowa Soybean Rust Fast Track System was developed to allow the rapid and accurate diagnosis of samples suspected of being infected with the Asian soybean rust fungus. Early symptoms of various infectious leaf diseases of soybean often appear similar. A positive identification may require incubation of leaf samples in a moist environment and subsequent microscopic examination.
Samples submitted to the Iowa State University Plant Disease Clinic through the Fast Track System are given priority status and diagnosed for Asian soybean rust free of charge.
In the Fast Track System, agricultural professionals who have received specialized training on the diagnosis of soybean rust serve as First Detectors. Their role is to examine any soybean samples that show symptoms suggestive of rust. If Asian soybean rust cannot be ruled out, the samples are referred to specially trained Iowa State University Extension personnel (Triage Team). If a Triage Team member cannot rule out Asian soybean rust, the sample is delivered to the Iowa State University Plant Disease Clinic.
A list of First Detectors can be obtained at county extension offices or found at www.soybeanrust.info. Additional information on submitting samples to the Plant Disease Clinic can be found at www.plantpath.iastate.edu/pdc.
Samples mailed through the Soybean Rust Fast Track System include approximately 20 leaflets that show a range of symptoms. Samples are sealed in a plastic bag with a paper towel and shipped in a sturdy box. Fast Track is noted on the Plant Disease Identification Form. (Christine Engelbrecht)
Iowa Soybean Rust Team Fast Track Triage Team members examine soybean leaves during training in August 2004. (Greg Tylka)
This article originally appeared on page 57 of the IC-498 (3) -- March 26, 2007 issue.