Location: Agricultural Systems Research Unit
Title: Brief History of Cercospora Leaf Spot of Sugar Beet Authors
Submitted to: American Phytopathological Society Press
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: August 28, 2008
Publication Date: February 26, 2010
Citation: Lartey, R.T., Weiland, J.J., Panella, L.W. 2010. Chapter 1: Brief History of Cercospora Leaf Spot of Sugar Beet. In: Lartey R.T., Weiland, J.J., Panella, L., Crous, P.W., and Windels, C.E., editors. Cercospora Leaf Spot of Sugar Beet and Related Species. St. Paul, MN: American Phytopathological Society Press. p. 1-5. Technical Abstract: Sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) is most likely native to western and southern Asia and is believed to have arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean countries through Egypt. The cultivation of sugar beet as an alternate source of sugar is attributed Andreas Siegmund Marggraf in the 1740s. Subsequent progress of beet sugar is credited to Napoleon Bonaparte, initiating a beet sugar industry in Europe that captured increasingly the proportion of the world’s beet crop for sugar production from 14% in 1853 to 65% by 1900. The first successful U.S. beet sugar factory was built at Alvarado, CA in 1870. Cercospora beticola Sacc. the causal agent of Cercospora leaf spot (CLS) of sugar beet and the most destructive leaf disease of the crop, likely originated in Central Europe and the Mediterranean area. Early geographical distribution of C. beticola, included Italy, France, Austria, Germany, Portugal, North and South America. Within three decades of establishment of the sugar beet industry in the US, the pathogen appeared to have become established as a serious problem for the crop. Subsequent research provided information on regarding long term survival, host range, locally spread environmental condition for infection impact on yield and management. Research later in the 20th century provided insight into Cercospora toxins involved in crop damage and into methods for the chemical and cultural control of the disease. In the later part of the 20th Century, numerous reports were made describing the genetic components of host resistance to CLS. Comprehensive historical research conducted in the last century laid the foundation for modern research on CLS and its management. CLS nevertheless remains the most important foliar disease of sugar beet.