University of Florida researchers have confirmed the finding of a second case of Asian soybean rust in the central portion of the state.

The latest case was discovered March 22 on old and new kudzu leaves in Hernando County. Germination tests on the sample confirmed spore viability. Hernando is just north of Pasco County where an earlier case of soybean rust was confirmed Feb. 22.

The finds were confirmed by microscopy at the Florida Division of Plant Industry and PCR tests at the University of Florida's Department of Plant Pathology, according to the University of Florida's Asian Soybean Rust Web site.

These developments could mean the states in the Southeast and along the Atlantic Coast are at greater risk for windborne infections of soybean rust, said Monte Miles, a plant pathologist with USDA's Agricultural Research Service.

“This does seem to indicate that the East Coast states could be at higher risk,” said Miles, a speaker at a soybean rust seminar at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show. “But it could take another hurricane to blow the rust spores from Florida back to the west and up into the Mississippi Valley.”