Biotech Updates

ARS Develops Bacterial Leaf Spot Resistant Iceberg Lettuce

April 24, 2009

A new breeding line of lettuce has been released for planting by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists. Limited samples of the seven new varieties of Iceberg lettuce is now provided by the ARS Crop Improvement and Protection Unit in Salinas, California to be tested for commercial use. This new breed is resistant to bacterial leaf spot (BLS), a common disease of lettuce in California that is caused by the pathogen Xanthomonas campestris. The pathogen produces black spot on lettuce leaves which will eventually merge and create dark, papery patches on the base of the plant. Sprays against the disease would not be a good option because it increases production cost.

ARS geneticist Ryan Hayes said, "Creating disease-resistant breeding lines is the most efficient and cost-effective tool to manage BLS in lettuce."

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