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Subject: Rhizomania, a Major Economically Damaging Viral Disease of Sugar Beet, Spreads to Great Lakes Production Area in Michigan
Date posted: February 13, 2003
Source: ProMed
In the fall of 2002, mature sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) plants exhibiting symptoms characteristic of beet necrotic yellow vein benyvirus (BNYVV), otherwise known as rhizomania, were discovered in several fields throughout central and eastern Michigan. The USDA Agriculture Research Service confirmed the causal agent as BNYVV. This virus is vectored by the soilborne fungus Polymyxa betae. Despite vigorous sanitation, quarantine, and disease monitoring efforts in the United States, this virus that likely originated in Europe and was first identified in California in 1983, has reached the last major American sugar beet production region. Rhizomania can cause substantial sugar yield and tonnage losses. Besides the United States, the virus continues to spread throughout Europe and Asia. Canada has no record of the virus but should closely monitor for this disease as the vector, P. betae, is found in parts of Canada.

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