The sugarbeet curly top virus could meet its match in new sugarbeet varieties derived from KDH13, a germplasm breeding line developed by USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) researchers for resistance to the disease-causing pathogen.
Transmitted by small insects called beet leafhoppers, the curly top virus courses through the phloem of susceptible beet plants, wreaking cellular havoc that can manifest as yellow, inwardly curled leaves; stunted growth; and other telltale symptoms. Severe outbreaks of curly top disease can reduce sugarbeet yields by 30% or more.
Spraying insecticides can prevent leafhoppers from transmitting the virus to plants while feeding; but the preferred approach is to plant sugar-beet varieties that naturally resist the pathogen, notes Imad Eujayl, a molecular biologist with ARS’s Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research Lab at Kimberly, Idaho.
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Editor & General Manager of The Sugarbeet Grower