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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Soil Management and Sugarbeet Research » Research » Research Project #441559

Research Project: Evaluating and Incorporating Resistance to Important Diseases and Pests of Sugar Beet from Crop Wild Relatives

Location: Soil Management and Sugarbeet Research

Project Number: 3012-21220-011-003-G
Project Type: Grant

Start Date: May 1, 2022
End Date: Jan 31, 2026

Increased host-plant resistant sources or alternative sources of resistance are needed against important sugar beet diseases including sugar beet root maggot (SBRM), root aphid, sugar beet cyst nematode (SBCN), rhizomania, Rhizoctonia crown and root rot (RCRR), beet curly top virus (BCTV), Alternaria leaf spot (ALS), and Cercospora leaf spot (CLS). The Sugar Beet Crop Germplasm Committee (CGC) has coordinated evaluations in these areas in the past, and is currently annually evaluating 20-30 Placcessions with funding from USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), which was received last year. If the U.S. sugar industry is going to remain competitive in the face of global competition, it is paramount that the genetic resources available in our USDA-ARS NPGS be exploited for resistance to these pests and diseases and used to form an expanded germplasm base in commercial varieties. Cultivated beets and crop wild relatives from the USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System NPGS will be screened and incorporated into germplasm enhanced for resistance to important sugar beet diseases.

Crop wild relatives, especially Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima (sea beet), are a useful genetic resource for improvement of the sugar beet crop. Researchers with expertise in screening germplasm for resistance to these diseases will work with the Beet Sugar Development Foundation (BSDF) to use the appropriate tests to evaluate accessions from the NPGS Beta Collection. Resistance to SBRM , rhizomania, RCRR, BCTV, ALS, and CLS will be evaluated in replicated field trials. Resistance to root aphid, and SBCN will be evaluated in replicated greenhouse trials. The data will be collected by the BSDF and forwarded to the Sugar Beet CGC Chairperson, who will see that they are entered in the GRIN system. These data will allow USDA-ARS researchers to incorporate these new resistance genes into their pre-breeding programs.