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New Sugarbeet Germplasm Released to Plant Breeders

By Jim De Quattro
October 22, 1997

Sugarbeet breeders can now get three new sugarbeet lines that carry resistance to two diseases that cause much of the disease damage to beets worldwide. Unchecked, Rhizoctonia root rot and Cercospora leaf spot have the potential to nearly cripple the $1.0 to $1.2 billion domestic sugar industry.

The new sugarbeets were developed by scientists in Fort Collins, Colo., at the Crops Research Laboratory, part of USDA's Agricultural Research Service

One of the new lines, known as FC725, shows excellent resistance to Rhizoctonia root rot and some resistance to Cercospora leaf spot. Another line, FC726, possesses superior sugar production potential as well as excellent resistance to Rhizoctonia. The third line, FC728, has potential for use as a productive hybrid parent, because the plants pass much of their genetic superiority onto the next generation. FC728 also has excellent resistance to root rot.

Individual commercial varieties may be highly resistant to one or another of the two diseases. But the new lines contain better resistance against an onslaught of both the Rhizoctonia and the Cercospora diseases. ARS and the Beet Sugar Development Foundation jointly released the lines after testing by ARS researchers. Commercial breeders can obtain seed from ARS.

Scientific contact:Leonard W. Panella, USDA-ARS Crops Research Laboratory, Fort Collins, Colo., phone (970) 498-4214, fax (970) 482-2909,