New soil bacteria may defend sugarbeets against soil fungi.
According to an ARS news release, two kinds of soil bacteria, known as Pseudomonas, may defend plants against fungi called Cercospora beticola that live on sugarbeet leaves.
Cercospora causes leaf-spot disease that can defoliate susceptible sugarbeet cultivars. Severe outbreaks may reduce sucrose yields by more than 30 percent.
ARS microbiologist David Kuykendall is investigating the bacteria. He is studying the possibility of spraying the bacteria onto the foliage when conditions are conducive to Cercospora outbreaks.
Kuykendall is conducting studies to determine if the bacteria pose a threat to any other crops.