Breeding for SBR tolerant varieties at SESVanderHave.
SBR (Syndrôme des Basses Richesses) is a sugar beet disease caused by the proteobacterium Candidatus Arsenophonus phytopathogenicus and the phytoplasma Candidatus Phytoplasma solani, both transmitted by the planthopper Pentastiridius leporinus. The economic impact of the disease on sugar beet can be very significant, as it involves an absolute 5% decrease of the sugar content and a relative loss of 25% in root yield, threatening the cultivation of sugar beet in regions already confronted to many other biotic and abiotic stresses. Since its identification in France in the early nineties, the disease as spread to more than 30,000 ha across Germany and Switzerland and is believed to spread further towards regions neighboring the affected areas. Because of the complex life cycle of the vector insect, agronomic and chemical solutions show a low effectiveness. Hence, resistant varieties are seen as the best mean to ensure a successful cultivation in infested areas. Since years, SESVanderHave breeders have been working on the identification of tolerant genotypes, leading to the release of two varieties in Germany with superior performance in SBR infested conditions, offering for the first time a sustainable solution to farmers affected by the disease. We are now expanding our research efforts to combine our solution against SBR with other desired traits and offer more varieties adapted to the whole sector needs. Moreover, SESVanderHave closely monitors the spread of the disease and is helping farmers to identify the presence of SBR in their fields.