“Rhizomania was first noted in California in 1983, and the incidences of rhizomania showed increases in some areas of the state in 1984. Industry sources estimate that in 1983, 2,600 acres were infected, with the disease spreading to 6,200 acres in 1984.
“The Europeans have had the disease since the mid 1950s; however, they have been unable to develop a control. USDA Salinas Station researchers indicate that, in time, it appears that tolerance or resistance may be bred into commercial varieties. This is a number of years away, and a portion of the USDA funding will be used to develop methods to assay soils in commercial labs to determine if the disease is in fields to be planted.
“The greater part of the funding will be used to ‘study the pathogenesis of the disease inducing entities.’ This will lead to a better understanding of how the disease is transmitted and moves through the plant, causing the stunting and bearding of the root system.”
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