Still considered the soybean's most destructive foliar disease, Asian soybean rust, which entered Brazil around 2003/2004, caused almost untold losses to the nation's agriculture. Researchers from Tropical Breeding & Genetics (TMG) have developed a method for identifying and selecting soybean plants with resistance to soybean rust. With a patent granted in the United States in 2014, TMG has now been awarded the patent approval in Brazil, guaranteeing intellectual property to TMG, and the rights provided for in Brazilian law.
Granted by the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), the patent grants the ownership of the method of identification and selection of soybean plants containing the resistance gene Rpp5, through the use of molecular markers.
For Francisco Soares Neto, CEO of TMG, the patent in Brazil is another achievement for the company and of all those who work in it. "It's especially a way of recognizing the competent work of TMG researchers, and the company's strong investment in genetics research to solve problems that farmers face every day. In addition, this patent adds value to Brazilian agribusiness, in demonstrating respect for intellectual property," he said.
TMG began offering soybean cultivars with Inox® Technology, allied with the producer to face soybean rust in the field. Inox® soybean plants, when are attacked by rust fungus (Phakopsora pachyrhizi), have a hypersensitive reaction (creating a dark lesion) that necrore leaf tissue around the point of infection. This restricts the progression of the fungus, avoiding its multiplication and sporulation. Where there is disease, therefore, the tool offers greater ease of control, allied to the good development of the crop and high productivities." The patent is still an incentive to innovation, which maintains the research in new genes that will allow the maintenance of Inox® Technology over time, with the combination of numerous genes to enlarge and assist the control of rust," adds Francisco Soares Neto.
Alexandre Garcia, research manager of TMG and one of those responsible for the patent, explains that the use of molecular markers has become routine in breeding programs and an essential tool to maintain competitiveness in the development of cultivars. "The selection of rust resistant plants is challenging, as there is a complex interaction between pathogen biotypes and plant resistant genes. In this scenario it is imperative to monitor the introgression and presence of genes through DNA. TMG showed its competence in discovering the Rpp5 gene and identifying ways to select it with molecular markers, and we are very pleased with the recognition of investment and intellectual property in patent form. This shows the seriousness and competence of Brazilian companies' research," he said.
Alexandre noted that when it comes to rust, genetics is a great tool for achieving superior results in productivity, but proper management is also crucial to crop success. "It is imperative to apply normal fungicide applications and follow the management recommendations. The advantage is that the genetic control of Inox®, associated with the use of fungicides, brings increased safety to the producer and results in a much more effective control and greater productivity, when compared to susceptible varieties, besides increasing the longevity of the forms of control of the disease", Alexander said.