ISU receives grant to enhance soybean resistance to SDS

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Researchers at Iowa State University will use a grant totaling more than $5 million to strengthen the genetic resistance of soybeans to sudden death syndrome, a disease that has cost Iowa soybean producers millions in crop losses.

The five-year, $5.35 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will allow an international team that includes nine ISU researchers to genetically modify soybeans in an attempt to fight off sudden death syndrome more effectively.

Madan Bhattacharyya, an associate professor of agronomy who will lead the research team, began studying sudden death syndrome in soybeans in 2003.  Bhattacharyya said that sudden death syndrome resistance in soybeans is encoded in numerous genes, each playing a small role in an individual plant’s resistance to the disease. Even elite soybean lines carry only partial resistance to the disease, he said. Researchers on the project hope to find new solutions that will provide a stronger resistance.

“Currently, the existing resistance mechanism isn’t strong,” Bhattacharyya said. “We would prefer something that does more to combat the disease.”

Soybean sudden death syndrome is an emerging disease that first appeared in Arkansas in 1971, he said. It’s caused by a Fusarium fungus that infects the roots of the soybean plant. The pathogen has never been detected from the diseased leaves or other above-ground tissues. The research group has recently shown that a small protein produced by the pathogen in the roots is the major cause of foliar soybean sudden death syndrome. The team has also shown that generation of a plant antibody against this protein enhances the disease resistance in transgenic soybean lines.

In 2010, sudden death syndrome cost Iowa soybean producers around $300 million in crop losses, Bhattacharyya said. That same year saw national crop losses approach $1 billion, he said.

“One of the reasons the disease is so devastating is that it begins in the root of the plant, and the pathogen stays in the infected roots,” he said. “By the time disease symptoms become visible in the leaves, it’s too late. There’s no effective fungicide to control the disease.”

Bhattacharyya and the ISU researchers will lead a team that includes personnel in Brazil and Argentina as well as in five other states. Nine of the 17 researchers involved in the program work at Iowa State, spanning a range of disciplines including genetics, plant breeding, plant pathology, electrical and computer engineering, computer science, sociology, economics and education.

In addition to research, the team will carry out education and outreach functions for 6-12th grade teachers and minority students interested in biotechnology and genetics. The education portion of the grant will be conducted both at Iowa State and Tuskegee University.

“This is a diverse team with a broad range of expertise,” Bhattacharyya said. “I’m looking forward to finding new ways to fight a disease that has caused serious hardship in leading soybean producing states, including Iowa.” 

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Portable Conveyors

Convey-all portable conveyors are designed to handle your crops gently and efficiently. We offer an extensive line of high capacity ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form