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Greenhouse and field techniques for testing sugar beet for resistance to Rhizoctonia root and crown rot

  • Autor/in: Büttner G., B. Pfähler, B. Märländer
  • Jahr: 2004
  • Zeitschrift: Plant Breeding
  • Verlag: 123
  • Seite/n: 158-166
  • Stichworte: Rhizoctonia solani - Beta vulgaris - artificial inoculation – variety testing - Rhizoctonia index


Rhizoctonia resistant sugar beet varieties are the key to an integrated control strategy for Rhizoctonia root rot. Due to the unpredictable occurrence of R. solani in the field testing sugar beet for resistance to Rhizoctonia root rot is difficult. The aim of the study was to develop advanced greenhouse and field techniques which allow a reliable assessment of sugar beet for resistance to R. solani. A highly infectious liquid inoculum was used for the first time in this study. It can be produced in large quantities of standardized quality, sterile, and exactly quantified according to its carbon content. In a greenhouse trial, sugar beet grown in the same way as field grown beet was inoculated by applying a suspension of Rhizoctonia mycelium (equivalent to10 mg carbon per plant) to the beet crown. After three weeks, inoculation had led to uniform and severe root rot. Disease symptoms were similar to those found under natural conditions in the field. No ‘escapes’, i.e. susceptible plants apparently expressing resistance were observed in the test. A new nine-class disease scale was established and a Rhizoctonia index (RI) was calculated. Reliability of disease assessment was demonstrated on progenies of plants, selected from segregating populations, showing Rhizoctonia resistance more closely related to the resistant parent lines than to the susceptible ones. Sugar beet varieties could be assessed in the greenhouse within only 11 weeks. All varieties were affected by the pathogen but partially resistant varieties could be clearly recognized by a significantly lower Rhizoctonia index. Significant differences in susceptibility were also found within the group of new resistant genotypes. Infection studies performed in the field showed the superiority of the new liquid prepared inoculum compared to a solid form and revealed the influence of inoculation date and inoculum level on the development of Rhizoctonia root rot. In field tests performed at different sites under different environmental conditions susceptible and partially resistant sugar beet varieties could be reproducibly rated according to their susceptibility to R. solani. On average, susceptible varieties showed a Rhizoctonia index of 8 while resistant genotypes ranged from 5 to 6. The newly developed techniques allow fast and reliable evaluation of sugar beet for resistance to R. solani.
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