LSU AgCenter and University of Arkansas specialists are examining three rust spores with features resembling P. pachyrhizi, the causal agent of Asian soybean rust, that were found in a spore trap near St. Joseph, La.

The specialists caution that there has been no confirmation that the “spores of interest” are from the Asian soybean rust pathogen nor can there be from field examination of the spores. The glass slides from the traps have been sent to the University of Arkansas for microscopic evaluation.

“It is extremely important to not be alarmed by this finding,” the LSU specialists said in an e-mail distributed to county Extension agents. “No Asian soybean rust has been found in fields adjacent to the spore trap. No ASR has been found in Louisiana or surrounding states.”

If the spores prove to be from the ASR pathogen, specialists will determine if conditions are favorable for disease development and issue an appropriate alert.

The e-mail said the spores were found in a spore trap sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection and managed by Boyd Padgett, a plant pathologist with the LSU AgCenter's Macon Ridge Station near Winnsboro, La.

“More than anything else, this finding means that scouting of ASR should not only continue, but intensify,” the e-mail said.