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Remote Detection of Rhizomania in Sugar Beets

June 2003 , Volume 93 , Number  6
Pages  720 - 726

K. Steddom , G. Heidel , D. Jones , and C. M. Rush

Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, 6500 Amarillo Boulevard West, Amarillo, Texas 79016-1796

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Accepted for publication 23 January 2003.

As a prelude to remote sensing of rhizomania, hyper-spectral leaf reflectance and multi-spectral canopy reflectance were used to study the physiological differences between healthy sugar beets and beets infested with Beet necrotic yellow vein virus. This study was conducted over time in the presence of declining nitrogen levels. Total leaf nitrogen was significantly lower in symptomatic beets than in healthy beets. Chlorophyll and carotenoid levels were reduced in symptomatic beets. Vegetative indices calculated from leaf spectra showed reductions in chlorophyll and carotenoids in symptomatic beets. Betacyanin levels estimated from leaf spectra were decreased at the end of the 2000 season and not in 2001. The ratio of betacyanins to chlorophyll, estimated from canopy spectra, was increased in symptomatic beets at four of seven sampling dates. Differences in betacyanin and carotenoid levels appeared to be related to disease and not nitrogen content. Vegetative indices calculated from multi-spectral canopy spectra supported results from leaf spectra. Logistic regression models that incorporate vegetative indices and reflectance correctly predicted 88.8% of the observations from leaf spectra and 87.9% of the observations for canopy reflectance into healthy or symptomatic classes. Classification was best in August with a gradual decrease in accuracy until harvest. These results indicate that remote sensing technologies can facilitate detection of rhizomania.

Additional keywords: anthocyanin ratio index, Beta vulgaris, carotenoid reflectance index, normalized difference vegetative index, radiometry.

© 2003 The American Phytopathological Society