Sugarbeet Pathology

Ashok Chanda and his field crew kneel at the edge of a sugarbeet field
Two men sorting sugar beets into a sampe bag
A student works in a lab
A student works in a lab
Three people looking at a plant in a lab

The overarching goal of the sugarbeet plant pathology research and extension program is to develop effective disease management strategies while still maintaining profitability. We conduct applied research on developing disease management approaches (cultural, chemical, and biological) and basic research to further our understanding of biology and genetic diversity of sugarbeet pathogens. We focus on finding cost efficient management techniques that minimize the negative impacts of diseases on both yield and quality of sugarbeets to help growers remain competitive.

We collaborate directly with other sugarbeet researchers in Minnesota and other sugarbeet growing regions and sugar beet cooperatives to conduct research trials. By working closely with the sugarbeet industry, we can better anticipate production challenges and identify the best practices to manage disease threats. The information generated from research is conveyed to the growers and industry via various channels including written articles and reports, winter grower meetings, and field days.  

Current research primarily focuses on Rhizoctonia crown and root rot, Aphanomyces root rot, and Cercospora leaf spot of sugarbeet. Growers can submit plant samples to our sugarbeet plant pathology lab for proper diagnosis.

Current research projects in our lab:

  • Integrated management of Rhizoctonia solani in sugarbeet
  • Development of a qPCR assay for detection and quantification of Rhizoctonia solani in soil
  • Evaluation of at-planting and postemergence fungicide treatments for control of Rhizoctonia solani
  • Molecular basis of fungicide resistance in Cercospora beticola (Austin Lien)
  • Evaluation of spent lime for managing Aphanomyces root rot
  • Genome assembly of Aphanomyces cochlioides (Jake Botkin)
  • qPCR-based detection of Aphanomyces cochlioides (Jake Botkin)
  • Mapping resistance to Aphanomyces cochlioides (Samantha Rude)

Disease diagnosis

Growers can submit plant samples to our sugar beet plant pathology lab for proper diagnosis.

Download the plant sample submission form.

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Related links

Past Lab Members

Lab Manager

  • Jason Brantner

Graduate Students

  • Jake Botkin (MS, graduated 2021)
    • 2021 Alan Dexter Sugarbeet Scholarship
    • 2020 Ward C. Stienstra & Richard A. Meronuck Graduate Student Travel Award
    • PlPa Award for Promising Excellence in Graduate Studies 2019-2020
  • Pratibha Sharma (MS, graduated 2019)
    • 2020 Alan Dexter Sugarbeet Scholarship
    • 2019 Ward C. Stienstra & Richard A. Meronuck Graduate Student Travel Award

Undergraduate Students

  • Kenan McQueen (Summer 2020)
  • Donny W (Summer 2020)
  • Derefaa Cline (Summer 2019)
  • Heidi Reitmeier (Fall 2018)
  • Karen Soi Choi (Summer 2018)
  • Brandon Kasprick (Summers 2017 & 2018)
  • Amanda Monson (Fall 2016 - Spring 2018)
  • Tim Cymbaluk (Summer 2017)
  • Alec Boike (Summers 2016 & 2018)
  • Claire Carlson (Summer 2016)
  • Austin Lien (Independent study, Fall 2015)
  • Katie Sheetz (2014 – 2016)
  • Irwin Sylvah (Summer 2015)

High School Students

  • Anke Wiersma (Summer 2020)
  • Muira MacRae (Summers 2017 - 2019)
  • Tim Cymbaluk (Summers 2015 & 2016)
  • Brandon Kasprick (Summers 2015 & 2016)