Submitted to: Vegetable Association Yearbook (North Carolina Vegetable Growers Association)
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/12/2005
Publication Date: 12/12/2005
Citation: Farnham, M.W. 2005. Breeding program for disease resistance in brassica crops. Vegetable Association Yearbook (North Carolina Vegetable Growers Association). p. 35.
Technical Abstract: The Vegetable Brassica breeding and genetics project at the USDA-ARS-U.S. Vegetable Laboratory (USVL) in Charleston, South Carolina conducts various research projects aimed at improving leafy greens. For more than 10 years, we have conducted research on and development of collard with a focus on traits of economic importance for production in the Southeast. For example, we have bred collard lines that have enhanced ability to resist bolting and remain vegetative during winter production. By using these experimental inbreds to make hybrids, it is possible to create varieties that are better adapted to winter conditions than many existing cultivars. In other work, we have shown that when we hybridize collard and cabbage the resulting variety is a plant more collard-like than cabbage-like that exhibits significant vigor. The collard by cabbage hybrids we have made express important resistances, including Fusarium yellows resistance and black rot tolerance, which are both contributed by the cabbage. Field trials conducted with the experimental collard by cabbage hybrids indicate they have potential as collard cultivars. In addition to our improvement efforts on collard, the USVL project has cooperated with scientists at Clemson University and Emory and Henry College in Virginia to search for and obtain landraces of collard that have been maintained by heirloom seed-savers throughout North and South Carolina. Through these efforts, we have collected a variety of collard types that represent a diverse array of genotypes and that may contain economically important genes that can be exploited in future collard improvement efforts. Recently, with the onset of a significant increase in peppery leaf spot disease on turnip and mustard greens in South Carolina and other places in the Southeast, we have undertaken studies to examine the putative causal agent of this disease and the potential for improving varieties to resist it. In cooperation with scientists at Clemson University and growers in South Carolina, we are currently exploring ways to combat this emerging disease and help stop significant losses due to it.