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Research Project: Sustainable Approaches for Pest Management in Vegetable Crops

Location: Vegetable Research

Title: Current status and future direction of sweetpotato research at the U. S. Vegetable Laboratory

item Williams, Livy
item Wadl, Phillip
item Simmons, Alvin
item Jackson, D
item Harrison Jr, Howard
item Ling, Kai-Shu

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/20/2015
Publication Date: 2/5/2016
Citation: Williams III, L.H., Wadl, P.A., Simmons, A.M., Jackson, D.M., Harrison Jr, H.F., Ling, K. 2016. Current status and future direction of sweetpotato research at the U. S. Vegetable Laboratory. HortScience. 51:S35-36.

Interpretive Summary: N/A

Technical Abstract: Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas L.) is one of the world’s most important root crops that is grown in more than 100 countries worldwide. It is an important specialty crop in the U.S. Since 1939, there has been continuous research on sweetpotato at the USDA, and for over 40 years at the U.S. Vegetable Laboratory (USVL) at Charleston, SC. Most of the research efforts have focused on combining multiple disease and insect resistance with improved yield and food quality and understanding the genetic basis of these traits. USDA researchers have been very productive with regard to developing improved sweetpotato germplasm, with over 20 cultivars and numerous seedling selections that have been incorporated in breeding programs at Louisiana State University and North Carolina State University. Future sweetpotato research at USVL will focus on the development of sustainable pest management options for sweetpotato production systems. Biologically-based management tactics will be developed against major insect and weed pests of sweetpotato crops. One primary approach will be the development of plant resistance factors that can be incorporated into advanced breeding lines and new sweetpotato germplasm. Knowledge will be obtained on the influence of climate change on pest and beneficial insects in sweetpotato crops. Biorational approaches will be developed for the management of a complex of soil-borne pests and sweetpotato whitefly. Whitefly:host-plant:virus relationships will be elucidated and a method of protection from whitefly-vectored viruses will be developed. This research will lead to the development of pest-resistant genotypes that have improved yields and quality, as well as improved tools for managing insect pests, associated viruses, and weeds in sweetpotato crops. There has been a long history of collaborative sweetpotato research between USVL and other institutions; continuing this collaboration will be fruitful in addressing the problems facing producers of this important specialty crop.