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Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00222

New Generation of Resistant Sugar Beet Varieties for Advanced Integrated Management of Cercospora Leaf Spot in Central Europe

  • 1Institut für Zuckerrübenforschung (IfZ), Germany
  • 2Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, University of Göttingen, Germany

Cercospora leaf spot (CLS) epidemics in sugar beet have been increasing in recent years causing higher use of fungicides. Concomitantly, the availability of effective fungicides is at risk because of resistance development in the fungus, the lack of new active ingredients as well as restrictive approval practices. A key option for an integrated management of CLS is cultivation of resistant varieties. Because of the yield penalty in resistant varieties, acceptance in commercial practice so far has been low. The aim of our study was to characterize recent sugar beet varieties registered in Germany in terms of resistance and tolerance to CLS and their value for integrated pest management. The genetic basis of CLS resistance in varieties is protected by intellectual property rights even after variety registration and not open to the public due to economic competition. To gain reliable data for cultivation, varieties have to be tested for their resistance traits under field conditions at varying levels of infection with Cercospora beticola. In collaboration with variety related stakeholders, 15 sugar beet varieties were tested in 49 field trials in Germany from 2014 to 2016 for their yield response to CLS. The trials were set up in a split-plot design with and without infection (i.e. with and without fungicide). The classification of varietal reaction to CLS is based on symptomatic leaf area (susceptibility) and the resulting relative yield loss (tolerance). Since the relation between both parameters varied among varieties, it was used as an additional parameter to describe tolerance. On this basis, three groups of varieties were identified. They can be characterized as a susceptible, a resistant and a presumably tolerant cluster. A comparison of the data with an older dataset originating from 2009-2011 revealed that yield performance of recent varieties with resistance to C. beticola caught up with susceptible varieties due to breeding progress. They showed no yield penalty in the absence of the disease and better economic performance than susceptible varieties. It is assumed that these varieties will allow a substantial reduction of fungicide use for an advanced integrated pest management under central European conditions.

Keywords: Cercospora beticola, Sugar beet, variety trials, Resistance, Breeding progress, sugar beet yield, Yield penalty, Economic performance

Received: 30 Oct 2017; Accepted: 05 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Piergiorgio Stevanato, Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy

Reviewed by:

Hans-Peter Kaul, Univ. of Nat. Resources and Life Sci., Vienna, Austria
Chiara Broccanello, Consultant, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Vogel, Kenter, Holst and Märländer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Christine Kenter, Institut für Zuckerrübenforschung (IfZ), Holtenser Landstr. 77, Göttingen, 37079, Germany,