Submitted to: Molecular Plant Pathology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/7/2004
Publication Date: 5/3/2004
Citation: Weiland, J.J., Koch, G. 2004. Sugar-beet leaf spot disease (cercospora beticola sacc.). Molecular Plant Pathology. 5:(3)157-166.
Interpretive Summary: Leaf spot of sugarbeet caused by the fungus Cercospora beticola is the most damaging leaf disease of sugarbeet in the world. This review details our current understanding of the biology of this fungus as well as its impact on the sugarbeet crop and the availability of disease resistance in sugarbeet breeding lines. The C. beticola fungus has a long history of acquiring resistance to the fungicides that growers use to control the disease. This is compounded by the fact that breeding for resistance has been difficult to do since these genes simultaneously reduce sugarbeet yield. Through the use of molecular genetics, new varieties of sugarbeet are on the horizon that will be able to better resist disease and allow for accelerated breeding programs. In addition, our deeper understanding of the fungus C. beticola is offering new cultural and chemical means to control this pathogen.
Technical Abstract: Leaf spot disease caused by Cercospora beticola Sacc. is the most destructive foliar pathogen of sugarbeet worldwide. In addition to reducing yield and quality of sugarbeet, the control of leaf spot disease by extensive fungicide application incurs added costs to producers and repeatedly has produced fungicide-tolerant C. beticola strains. The genetics and biochemistry of virulence have been examined less for C. beticola as compared to the related fungi C. nicotianae, C. kikuchii, and C. zeae-maydis, fungi to which the physiology of C. beticola is often compared. C. beticola populations generally are not characterized as having race structure, although a case of race-specific resistance in sugarbeet to C. beticola has been reported. Resistance currently implemented in the field is quantitatively inherited and exhibits low to medium heritability.