ISU to Test Asian Soybean Rust Fast Track System this Week

April 19th, 2005

Forrest Nutter, an Iowa State University plant pathologist, will be coordinating a test of the Iowa Soybean Rust Team's fast track system this week.

"The goal of the exercise is to test the communications within the fast track system," Nutter said. "We are testing every step of the process from the grower to the diagnostic laboratory."

The fast track system was set up by the Iowa Soybean Rust Team to speed up the identification of Asian soybean rust. Samples submitted using the system are diagnosed at no cost.

To participate in the fast track system a grower or consultant must contact a first detector. More than 400 first detectors throughout Iowa have been trained to identify the disease and will be listed on the Iowa Soybean Rust Team Web site at by the end of April.

First detectors who receive suspect samples will forward them to a triage person. Forty Iowa State extension specialists have been trained as triage members to identify soybean rust. Triage members will send suspect samples to the Iowa State University Plant Disease Clinic. The first two soybean rust samples collected in Iowa are required to be sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Plant Germplasm and Biotechnology Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. for confirmation.

Growers are encouraged to submit a suspect sample to the Iowa Soybean Rust fast track system using the following guidelines:
- Collect 20 leaves with a wide range of symptoms.
- Place samples between dry paper towels in a sealed plastic bag.
- Place the entire sample in a second sealed plastic bag.
- If the sample is being mailed, place the double-bagged sample in a box and seal it with tape and send it using overnight delivery.

The following information must accompany the sample:
- The date the sample was collected.
- The name of the person(s) collecting and submitting the sample.
- The field location and where the plants were in the field. Global positioning system coordinates would be ideal, otherwise include the nearest road intersection. Also include the township and county.
- Download a submission form from the Iowa State University Plant Disease Clinic at

Alison Robertson, Iowa State plant pathologist, has been conducting training sessions throughout the state on the identification of soybean rust. She warns that there are many diseases that look similar to soybean rust.

"It can be difficult to diagnose this disease. That's why using the fast track system can help growers with identification of soybean rust," Robertson said.

The Iowa Soybean Rust Team includes representatives from the Iowa State University, Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Soybean Promotion Board, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Forrest Nutter, Plant Pathology, (515) 294-8737,
Alison Robertson, Plant Pathology, (515) 294-6708,
Barbara McBreen, Communications Service, (515) 294-0707,