Submitted to: Sugar Journal
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/25/2011
Publication Date: 2/7/2011
Citation: Bolton, M.D. 2011. Enhancing crop protection in sugarbeet using molecular technology. Sugar Journal. 73(9):6-8.
Technical Abstract: The research at the USDA – ARS Sugarbeet Pathology program at Fargo, ND focuses on minimizing yield losses from diseases through research on pathogen biology and detection, germplasm enhancement, and crop protection. These initiatives rely to a large extent on molecular technology. A key component of the program is the identification of important proteins or toxins produced by pathogens during the course of infection. Proteins identified as virulence factors can be a useful tool to screen and identify sugarbeet lines for genetic resistance. Another goal of the program focuses on sequencing specific fungal genes to assess if any DNA mutations correlate with fungicide resistance. If mutations correlate with fungicide resistance, then molecular-based techniques may be used to monitor for such mutations in field samples. Such a technique may offer a precise, low-cost, and straight-forward system to monitor for fungicide resistance in sugarbeet pathogens. Another major component of the sugarbeet pathology laboratory is the detection and identification of pathogens in sugarbeet tissue or soil samples using molecular technology. Molecular techniques were recently used to help identify a new species of Fusarium that is causing localized serious field losses in sugarbeet in the southern Red River Valley. Taken together, the identification and characterization of traditional and emerging sugarbeet diseases with molecular technology is becoming an important component of the plant pathologist tool box.