Current status and management of coffee leaf rust in Brazil


In Brazil, coffee leaf rust, a fungal disease caused by Hemileia vastatrix Berk. et Br., was first detected in Coffea arabica in January 1970, in the southern region of Bahia state. Today, the disease is present in virtually all arabica and conilon (Coffea canephora) coffee-growing areas of Brazil, and continues to threaten coffee production with losses that range from 30 to 50 %. The disease is usually less severe at elevations above 1,200 m, where the environment is less conducive for the rust. Disease risk is increased in arabica coffee compared to conilon, and lower production is expected in the year following an epidemic due to early defoliation and drying of branches. Several varieties were developed in the country using sources of resistance from germplasm collections in Portugal. However, very few are completely resistant, instead exhibiting various levels of partial resistance. The disease is currently managed through the use of protectant and systemic fungicides including copper, triazoles and strobilurins that should be applied following rules of decision that vary according to the risk scenario. A review of the biology and epidemiology of coffee rust in Brazil is presented and the best management practices for controlling the disease based on advances in breeding for resistance and crop protection are discussed.

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Correspondence to Laércio Zambolim.

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Section Editor: Emerson Del Ponte

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Zambolim, L. Current status and management of coffee leaf rust in Brazil. Trop. plant pathol. 41, 1–8 (2016) doi:10.1007/s40858-016-0065-9

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  • Coffea arabica
  • Coffea canephora
  • Hemileia vastatrix
  • Chemical control
  • Resistance