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Carl A Strausbaugh

Research Plant Pathologist


Ph.D., Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, 1988, Plant Pathology

M.S., Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, 1985, Plant Pathology

B.S. (with distinction), Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, 1983, Plant Science


August 2004-present: Research Plant Pathologist, USDA-ARS, Kimberly, ID

June 2002-August 2004: Acting Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology, Univ. of Idaho

June 1990-June 2002: Res. & Ext. Associate/Support Scientist III, Univ. of Idaho

November 1988-June 1990: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley

June 1985-October 1988: Research/Teaching Assistant, Washington State University

July 1983-May 1985: Research Assistant, Washington State University


Studies evaluated the effects of insecticide seed treatments for the control of beet leafhoppers, the virus vector of curly top in sugarbeet. The clothianidin (Poncho) insecticide seed treatment improved yield by > 20% in data pooled over both susceptible and resistant cultivars. The large yield increases were achieved by controlling not only beet leafhoppers but also other pests such as aphids and leafminers. Based on these investigations, EPA issued a Section 18 CRISIS exemption for the use of clothianidin during both the 2006 and 2007 growing seasons. This research also supported clothianidin (Poncho Beta) being labeled for routine use in sugarbeet production. Based on National Agricultural Statistic Service data, Idaho sugarbeet yields averaged 27.04?2.01 tons/A from 2001 to 2005 but in the 5 years since Poncho Beta has been available, yields have averaged 32.53?1.69 tons/A. Other states with curly top and pest pressure in the western U.S. have seen similar increases. This insecticide is now an important research tool for conducting screening for resistance to other pathogens, since it allows material with little or no curly top resistance to be screened without dying from curly top.

Plant Dis. 96:1159-1164

J. Sugar Beet Res. 47(3&4):65-88

J. Sugar Beet Res. 47(3&4):105-125

J. Sugar Beet Res. 45(1&2):31-47

Plant Dis. 90:1539-1544

Investigations were conducted which showed that bacteria root rot resulted in much more root mass loss (6 to 78%) than rot associated with R. solani (3 to 5%), but bacteria largely entered sugarbeet roots through lesions created by R. solani. A new bacterial pathogen, Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. dextranicum, was established to be the primary causal agent of bacterial root rot in sugarbeet. A screening method to identify resistance to this pathogen has also been established. The primary impact of this research has been to establish the cause of bacterial root rot and its relationship with Rhizoctonia root rot, since these two disease problems complement one another and can result in over 50% yield loss in the field.

Plant Dis. 92:357-363

Can. J. Pl. Pathol. 31:232-240

J. Sugar Beet Res. 47(1&2):51-64

Can. J. Pl. Pathol. 33:210-226

J. Sugar Beet Res. 49(3&4):57-78

Research was conducted that established a cultivar selection system for storage and has shown that storage losses are worse when roots are impacted in the field by rhizomania, curly top, root rots, and pests. Sucrose losses in storage were 5-8% for curly top, 5% for root rots, and up to 100% for rhizomania. With disease free roots, some cultivars still lost twice as much sucrose as others in long term storage.

Plant Dis. 92:581-587

Plant Dis. 93:632-638

J. Sugar Beet Res. 48(3&4):155-180

J. Sugar Beet Res. 45(1&2):31-47

J. Sugar Beet Res. 47(3&4):65-88

Field studies documented a direct relationship between disease rating and sugarbeet yield. For each unit increase in disease rating (increasing susceptibility), root yield in sugarbeet decreased 5.76 to 6.93 metric tons/ha based on studies conducted. The curly top species present in sugarbeet in the western U.S. has also been monitored. Dr. Strausbaugh was invited by scientists and breeders to screen germplasm in a collaborative effort to establish an antibody based detection system for curly top and identify and map new sources of resistance to curly top. Screening has led to the discovery of novel sources of resistance in Beta corolliflora by the Kimberly USDA-ARS sugarbeet program and the first cultivar release of a curly top resistant cayenne pepper by New Mexico State University. The antibody system (development led by Alex Karasev with the Univ. of Idaho) has been purchased by commercial companies and private laboratories.

Plant Dis. 91:1459-1463

Phytopathology 98:1212-1217

J. Sugar Beet Res. 45(3&4):99-118

Plant Dis. 94:972-976

HortScience 45:1751-1752

These studies identified the most important fungal root pathogens on wheat and barley in Idaho which are now the priority in targeted selection for root rot resistance and disease management. A real-time assay was developed which improved the quantification of F. culmorum in root disease assays and has been used by other laboratories.

Can. J. Pl. Pathol. 27:430-438

Can. J. Pl. Pathol. 26:167-176

Can. J. Pl. Pathol. 28:596-608

Studies were conducted to establish a screening system for Rhizoctonia-bacterial root rot in sugar beet. Field screening and evaluation of discoloration on the root surface were identified as the best means to screen for resistance to this complex. The best source of resistance was identified in the sugar beet line FC709-2. This line was resistant to all isolates of R. solani tested from southern Idaho. Weaker sources of resistance allowed for minor interactions with R. solani isolates.

Plant Dis. 97:1175-1180

Plant Dis. 97:93-100

A rating system for evaluating dry bean germplam for resistance to Bean common mosaic virus (BCMV) and Bean common mosaic necrosis virus (BCMNV) was established. The rating system was utilized to identify a new gene for resistance to BCMV and BCMNV.

Phytopathology 93:1430-1436

Phytopathology 93:683-690

A rating system for evaluating wheat germplasm for resistance to strawbreaker foot rot of wheat was established. The rating system was used to identify two genes associated with resistance to foot rot of wheat.

Phytopathology 79:1043-1047

Phytopathology 79:1048-1053

The vegetative compatibility and virulence of Verticillium dahliae isolates was established in California and Idaho.

Phytopathology 82:61-68

Phytopathology 83:1253-1258

A novel Basidiomycete fungus associated with sugar beet storage was establish to exist. The Athelia-like Basidiomycete represents a new fungal species and possibly a new fungal genus.

Mycologia 104(1):70-78

The Bc-1 and Bc-u loci associated with resistance to bean common mosaic were shown to be linked.

J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 124(6):644-648

The primary causal agents for scab (headblight) of irrigated wheat in central Washington were established.

Plant Disease 70:1104-1106

Research Program

Improved sugar beet germplasm and innovative disease management approaches to increase yield and reduce product losses

Investigators for Sugarbeet Program:

Carl Strausbaugh, Research Plant Pathologist/Lead Scientist

Imad Eujayl, Research Geneticist (Plants)

Research CRIS Project:


Program Objectives:

1. Identify molecular markers and their genetic map positions for priority sugar beet traits, including host plant resistance to curly top, root rots, and abiotic stresses. [NP301, C1, PS1B]

1.1 Whole genome re-sequencing of sugar beet public breeding line KDH13 for genetic variation analysis.

1.2 Identify a large representative set of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers for genotyping of mapping populations and germplasm.

1.3 Construct high density genetic linkage map to identify DNA markers closely linked to genes regulating resistance to curly top.

2. Improve germplasm screening procedures for host plant resistance, and incorporate disease management options into production practices through enhanced understanding of plant pathogen etiology and interactions with host resistance, pests, and abiotic stresses. [NP303, C3, PS3A]

2.1 Investigate curly top species variation and/or the presence of new curly top species in sugar beet.

2.2 Refine management strategies for curly top and pest control in sugar beet.

2.3 Establish the etiology and management options for an Athelia-like fungus associated with stored sugar beet roots.

2.4 Characterize and exploit the interaction of Rhizoctonia solani and Leuconostoc mesenteroides in sugar beet root rot to improve disease management options.

2.5 Determine the effect of rhizomania in the field on freeze damage to sugar beet roots in storage.

3. Identify novel sources of host plant resistance to diseases (curly top, rhizomania, and root rots), storage, and abiotic stresses (drought and frost), and incorporate them into adapted germplasm. [NP301, C1, PS1A]