Submitted to: Journal of Sugarbeet Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/29/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: The collection of wild species which are progenitors of the crop species has recently received increased attention, largely due to the concerns about destruction of natural habitats. Considerable variation and interesting genes and characteristics are present in wild beets. The wild beets in the Caucasus region of the former Soviet Union are important ancestors of the cultivated sugarbeet, but are not well represented in the world wild Beta collection. A joint exploration among the USDA-ARS, National Plant Germplasm System, the N.I. Vavilov All-Union Research Institute of Plant Industry (VIR), St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Center for Genetic Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands was undertaken to the Republics of Armenia and Russia (Daghestan) near the Caucasus Mountains. Representative populations were collected for the wild species in the region. This germplasm was the first to be collected and deposited in the USDA-ARS-NPGS Beta collection in over 50 years. It will be a valuable addition to the collection, and ensure the preservation of these species, but considerable evaluation will be necessary to determine its potential value.
Technical Abstract: The collection of wild sugarbeets (Beta) has received increased attention in recent years because their natural habitats are continually being destroyed. Very few accessions of wild Beta from the section Corollinae have been collected from their native habitats in the Caucasus Mountain region of the Soviet Union. An exploration was conducted to collect wild Beta from the Caucasus region of the Soviet Union. Seed was collected from three populations of B. corolliflora, one population of B. lomatogona, and two populations of B. macrorhiza. All species are perennial, cold and winter hardy, and drought tolerant. Tolerance to saline soils has been observed in B. lomatogona. Resistance to curly top (a devastating virus of sugarbeet in the western U.S.) has been identified in B. corolliflora. It has been more than 50 years since the U.S. has collected wild sugarbeets in the Soviet Union, so the recently acquired accessions fill a gap in the Beta germplasm collection. Considerable evaluation of the collected materials will be needed to determine their potential value. The new germplasm will facilitate efforts to improve cultivated sugarbeet by introducing new genes from the wild species. It will also allow for the preservation of valuable sugarbeet germplasm for future use.