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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Lewellen, Robert - Bob
item Biancardi, Enrico

Submitted to: Genetics and Breeding of Sugar Beet
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2004
Publication Date: 3/20/2005
Citation: Lewellen, R.T., Biancardi, E. 2005. Yellow wilt. pp. 87-88. In (eds. E. Biancardi, L.G. Campbell, G.N. Skaracis, & M. DeBiaggi) Genetics and Breeding of Sugar Beet. Science Publishers Inc., Enfield, NH, USA.

Interpretive Summary: "Yellow Wilt" is a book chapter that reviews the genetics and breeding for resistance to yellow wilt disease that occurs in South America.

Technical Abstract: Yellow wilt is a serious destructive sugar beet disease that occurs only in Argentina and Chile. Symptoms include yellowing and wilting of the leaves, resulting in the death of infected plants, especially when accompanied by drought and high temperatures. Yellow wilt is caused by a rickettsia-like organism transmitted by a leafhopper, Paratanus exitiosus, and two species of dodder. Gaskill and Ehrenfeld (1976) observed a range in disease severity among 381 varieties and breeding lines of European and American origin. Efficient screening and breeding programs must have disease nurseries or screening procedures that guarantee high percentages of infected plants. Mother beets are selected in both the yellowing and subsequent wilting phase. Success in breeding for resistance was initially hampered by frequency of escapes in the disease nurseries and difficulties in producing seed on selected plants that were resistant, but not immune. Satisfactory amounts of seed were obtained by repeatedly spraying the flowering plants with antibiotics. Three sea beet introductions displayed a relatively high resistance to yellow wilt, suggesting sea beet is a potential source of resistance genes. As of now, no variety with appreciable resistance to yellow wilt has been identified.

Last Modified: 07/27/2017
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