Selection for Improved Sugarbeet Storability
Previous research has indicated the feasibility of selecting for improved sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L.) postharvest storability but has not produced parental lines suitable for hybrid production. Germplasm possessing multiple traits for improved storability would facilitate the development of commercial hybrids with improved storability characteristics. This article reports the progress after four cycles of selection for combined low storage-respiration (low internal CO2 concentration) and resistance to three prevalent storage-rot fungi, Phoma betae (Oud.) Frank, Botrytis cinerea Pets. ex Ft., and Penicillium claviforme Bainier. Field-grown roots stored for 60 d at 5°C were evaluated. The fourth cycle of selection produced families with an average internal CO2 concentration 27% below the average of the check hybrids. The average rot index of the selected families was 53% of the checks. Eight of 65 families had significantly lower internal CO2 levels combined with significantly lower rot ratings than the checks for at least two of the three fungi. Three of these families had combined low internal CO2 levels and low ratings for all three storage-rot fungi. The results indicated that desired storability traits can be combined in individual lines. Negative relationships between storability traits and root yield and quality were of minor importance, indicating that improved storability need not imply a compromise in agronomic performance.
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