|L. DAVID KUYKENDALL|
Dr. L. David Kuykendall serves as a Horticulturalist investigating the complex interactions of sugar beets, Beta vulgaris, with pathogenic micro-organisms.
Sugar beets currently supply about half of the United States' sugar (sucrose), and when processed it is of course identical to that of sugarcane. The thrust of this program is to control disease and/or improve disease resistance to microbial pathogens using genetic modification.
Targeted are bacteria, namely, Erwinia (or Pectobacterium) betavasculorum that causes root rot disease and fungi, specifically, Cercospora beticola that causes leaf spot disease.
A better understanding of the molecular basis for both disease resistance and pathogenesis is being sought using molecular approaches including but not limited to genomics. Transgenic plants are employed to look at potential new mechanisms of effective disease prevention.
It is anticipated that this research will lead to environmentally safe and economically feasible control of sugar beet diseases in order to increase the profitability of sugar beet production in the United States.