Location: Sugarbeet and Bean Research
Title: Strategic Sugar Beet Germplasm Resource Development Authors
Submitted to: Annual Beet Sugar Development Foundation Research Report
Publication Type: Research Notes
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2014
Publication Date: June 1, 2014
Citation: McGrath, J.M., Hanson, L.E. 2014. Strategic Sugar Beet Germplasm Resource Development. [CD-ROM]. 2013 Annual Beet Sugar Development Foundation Research Report. Denver, Colorado: Beet Sugar Development Foundation. Technical Abstract: Smooth-root varieties (SR) have been recognized as desirable since the 1940’s for their potential to reduce soil tare at harvest and at the factory. Until the 1990’s this germplasm had low sugar and was unacceptable. Since 2000, USDA-ARS SR germplasm releases increased sugar content to acceptable levels, however disease resistance, especially to Rhizoctonia, limited adoption of this trait. Using the improved SR germplasm, traditional resistances to Cercospora and Aphanomyces were added from pre-1980’s East Lansing breeding germplasm, Rhizoctonia (both adult and seedling) and nematode resistances were added over the past 10 years, and this germplasm is now in the hands of the seed industry. Seed yield and bolting resistance (important for the seed industry) as well as emergence and stand establishment (e.g. vigor) were also important components of these germplasm releases. These releases form the basis of our East Lansing elite materials, to which additional traits will be added, as they are deemed strategically important. Currently, our specific target traits are two. First is continued re-selection of recent germplasm releases (i.e. those already in the seed industry’s hands) for general high performance in Michigan. Vigor, Rhizoctonia, Cercospora, Aphanomyces, nematode, high sugar and yield are the priorities. Cycling populations through generations after selection in the rather severe Michigan environment serves to fix useful ‘Michigan’ genes, but perhaps more importantly, effects additional recombination of these traits that may allow seed companies an easier time in variety development. Second, we have begun examining tolerance for storage rots, needed to limit disease development in storage piles. Promising materials have been identified for germplasm release pending confirmation from roots harvested in 2013. Other targets are possible, such as resistance to Fusarium and Alternaria diseases, should these begin to be problematic for growers.