Web edition: August 9, 2007
Mention rust, and most of us think of the oxidized metal that signals the aging and decay of cars, fences, and bolts on the backyard deck. However, many plants also suffer from rustin this case, fungal diseases named for their characteristic reddish-orange color. With a particularly virulent example known as Ug99 (see Wheat WarningNew Rust Could Spread Like Wildfire) poised for a potentially global epidemic spread, consumers would benefit from a greater appreciation of the havoc these pathogens can wreak. The Agriculture Department's Cereal Disease Laboratory offers a site where one can view these rusts and gain an appreciation of the threat they pose to farmers.