Beet Curly Top and Beet Leafhopper

beet leafhopper

A.C. Magyarosy,

by Emily Herring, Sustainable Plant Systems major

Among crops grown in the U.S., most crops infected with pests and diseases you hear about in Ohio are corn, soybeans, wheat, the usual, but now there is  a disease  of sugar beets that has been coming back around.

Beet curly top virus (BCTV) of sugar beets is to be among “the first plant viral diseases, along with the tobacco mosaic virus, recognized in the late nineteenth century”, according to, The American Phytopathological Society, leading the plant pathology online world. It has said to be one of the worst diseases of field crops in America today for beets.

Beet curly top is transmitted by a vector, the beet leafhopper, which can transmit the virus to multiple plants, causing an economic problem for the industry. Once the virus infects the plant, it can devastate the plant through the vascular system and later into the phloem.

Young plants can die quickly from this, while more mature plants show yellowing on the leaves, also called chlorosis, as well as necrosis, which is dead tissue on a plant. It has also been documented to show small galls on the underside of the leaves, blisters and rolling healthy leaves, while as the fruit or roots become discolored.

Unfortunately, there have been three different strains found of the virus by analyzing the DNA sequences. This can have a huge economic impact on our sugar beet crop as this virus spreads too quickly. Scientists are and have been working on varieties that are resistant this virus.

For more information
Beet Curly Top: America’s First Serious Disease of Sugar Beets

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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