Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sugar Beet Virus Mutation Requires Texas Touch

18.05.2005


The only sugar beets growing in Texas are in the laboratory. But those few plants are getting to the root of problems throughout the sugar beet industry.

The sugar beet industry moved out of Texas in 1997 after the close of the processing plant at Hereford. But the growing research program within Texas Agricultural Experiment Station’s plant pathology lab here didn’t die.

Just the opposite, said Dr. Charlie Rush, professor and director of the plant pathology labs in Bushland and Amarillo. "We do all of our work in the greenhouse and laboratory," he said. "Here, we have to have an understanding of everything, from the crop growing in the field to the molecular aspects of the pathogen. That makes our program totally unique."



Outside research dollars began pouring in and Rush’s program was reinvigorated in 2002 when a new strain of beet necrotic yellow vein virus emerged.

The new strain threatened sugar beet production in California and Minnesota. Getting answers was important because the affected area in California holds records for production and Minnesota boasts the most concentrated sugar beet growing region in the world, Rush said.

Beet necrotic yellow vein virus, which causes the disease known as rhizomania, was found near Hereford in 1986 by a California researcher. A similar virus, beet soil borne mosaic virus, also was found about the same time.

The two viruses are closely related, Rush said. But rhizomania is devastating and found worldwide, while the mosaic virus is not as destructive and is limited to the United States.

Growers, breeders and industry officials from Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Minnesota, Michigan and North Dakota began looking to Texas and Rush for help.

They would see rhizomania in isolated spots in a few fields, but within a few years, it would spread across entire production areas, Rush said. His team responded by studying the ecological and epidemiological aspects of the pathogen and disease – what could producers do to reduce the incidence and severity of the disease.

"We started doing a lot of work with both of the viruses, and by default, I ended up with more experience than anyone else," he said.

Strong genetic resistance to rhizomania was bred into sugar beet varieties and until 2002, that was effective, Rush said. But with only one gene selected for resistance, the plant virus mutated and overcame the resistant gene.

"We’re going in now and looking at the molecular makeup of the plant virus," he said.

Making trips to the Imperial Valley in California and the Red River Valley growing region in Minnesota and North Dakota, Rush said his team works with growers and sugar company representatives at harvest time.

Soil samples and infected beets are brought back to the lab at Bushland. Sugar beets are planted in the contaminated soil and the virus is purified from the infected plants, he said. The virus isolate is cultured in test tubes, and the plants are no longer needed.

"We’re trying to find out why this genetically mutated pathogen is able to overcome the resistance in the plant," he said. "We’re looking at new crosses by seed companies and challenging them with each of these two viruses, as well as a combination of the two."

By measuring the effect of the disease on the plant, as well as purifying the virus and quantifying how much is actually present, they can determine if resistance is expressing itself, Rush said.

Breeders have good indications they may have some resistance in some wild relatives of sugar beets, he said. Advanced lines identified with potentially high levels of resistance will be planted in test plots in the sugar beet growing regions.

When these lines become available to producers and allow them to grow beets at a profit, that’s when the research has come full circle, Rush said.

Dr. Charlie Rush | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tamu.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>