The soil-borne fungus Rhizoctonia solani (Kühn) is the causal agent of numerous diseases in agricultural and horticultural crops world-wide. In sugar beet the pathogen causes root and crown rot, which has become increasingly more important over the past years in Europe. An excess of 5 to 10 % of the total European sugar beet acreage are affected or threatened by the disease. Rhizoctonia root rot results in substantial losses for farmers and the sugar industry. Diseased plants yield less and the sugar content of the beet crop is reduced; the capability for storage and the processing quality of the beets are negatively affected resulting in difficulties during beet processing in the sugar factory. Phytopathologists from public and private research institutes, the sugar beet breeding companies and the agro-chemical industry are cooperating with the sugar industry and the sugar beet producers to investigate the etiology, pathophysiology and epidemiology of the disease and to develop control strategies. An integrated approach combines the cultivation of Rhizoctonia resistant sugar beet varieties and seed treatment with Rhizoctonia specific fungicides with an improved crop rotation and other agronomic practices to reduce the infection pressure in the field. First available results to control Rhizoctonia root rot with such an integrated concept have been promising. The poster presents data on the incidence of the disease in Europe, shows disease symptoms and estimates the influence on sugar beet yield and processing quality. Research strategies, current research projects and cooperating institutions are being discussed.
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