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 Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide
16.07.2018 | UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

nachricht Advance warning system via cell phone app: Avoiding extreme weather damage in agriculture
12.07.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>