Foreword Preface Acknowledgments 1) History and current importance1.1) Origin1.2) Domestication 1.3) Athens and Rome 1.4) Middle age 1.5) Renaissance1.6) Age of science 1.7) Researchers more involved in Beta maritima1.7.1) Wilhelm Rimpau and Hermann Briem1.7.2) Franz Schindler1.7.3) Emanuel von Proskowetz1.7.4) Ottavio Munerati1.7.5) Jacques de Vilmorin1.7.6) Dudok van Heel1.7.7) Forrest V. Owen1.7.8) George H. Coons1.7.9) John S. McFarlane1.7.10) Viacheslav F. and Helen Savitsky1.7.11) Devon L. Doney and Larry G. Campbell,1.7.12) Marco De Biaggi1.7.13) Robert T. Lewellen1.7.14) Brian V. Ford-Lloyd1.7.15) Lothar Frese1.7.16) Leonard W. Panella1.7.17) Detlef Bartsch1.7.18) Henry Darmency1.7.19) Piergiorgio Stevanato1.7.20) Henk van Dijk and Nina Hautekèete2) Range of distribution3) Morphology, physiology, and ecology 3.1) Seed and germy 3.2) Germination3.3) Leaves3.4) Roots 3.5) Color 3.6) Chemical composition3.7) Seed stalk3.8) Flowers and flowering 3.9) Pollen3.10) Gene flow 3.11) Male sterility3.12) Chromosome number3.13) Self-incompatibility3.14) Self-fertility3.15) Cross fertilization 3.16) Growth habit 3.17) Life span 3.18) Age at maturity3.19) Reproduction systems3.19.1) Gynodioecy 3.19.2) Sex ratio 3.20) Interspecific hybrids3.21) Survival strategies 3.22) Dispersal of the species 4) Taxonomy 5) Uses5.1) Medical uses 5.2) Food uses 5.3) Other uses 6) Source of useful traits 6.1) Resistance to biotic stresses 6.1.1) Virus yellows6.1.2) Beet mosaic virus 6.1.3) Rhizomania 6.1.4) Beet curly top virus 6.1.5) Powdery mildew6.1.6) Root rot 6.1.7) Cercospora leaf spot 6.1.8) Polymyxa betae 6.1.9) Black root6.1.10) Minor fungal diseases 6.1.11) Nematodes126.96.36.199) Cyst nematodes188.8.131.52) Root knot nematodes6.1.12) Insects 6.1.13) Multiple resistances6.2) Resistances to abiotic stresses 6.2.1) Drought and heat tolerance6.2.2) Salinity tolerance 6.3) Other traits 7) Cultivated offspring 7.1) Leaf beet 7.2) Garden beet 7.3) Fodder beet 7.4) Sugar beet 7.5) Energy beet 7.6) Ornamental beet8) The Future8.1) Germplasm conservation 8.2) Transgenes diffusion 8.3) Source of new traits AppendixA) Beta chronology B) Authors chronologyC) Names and synonyms of Beta maritimaD) English translation of Latin names given to Beta maritima E) Essential references
Along the undisturbed shores, especially of the Mediterranean Sea and the European North Atlantic Ocean, is a quite widespread plant called Beta maritima by botanists, or more commonly sea beet. Nothing, for the inexperienced observer's eye, distinguishes it from surrounding wild vegetation. Despite its inconspicuous and nearly invisible flowers, the plant has had and will have invaluable economic and scientific importance. Indeed, according to Linnè, it is considered "the progenitor of the beet crops possibly born from Beta maritima in some foreign country". Recent molecular research confirmed this lineage. Selection applied after domestication has created many cultivated types with different destinations. The wild plant always has been harvested and used both for food and as a medicinal herb. Sea beet crosses easily with the cultivated types. This facilitates the transmission of genetic traits lost during domestication, which selection processes aimed only at features immediately useful to farmers and consumers may have depleted. Indeed, as with several crop wild relatives, Beta maritima has been successfully used to improve cultivated beet's genetic resistances against many diseases and pests. In fact, sugar beet cultivation currently would be impossible in many countries without the recovery of traits preserved in the wild germplasm.
Dr. Enrico Biancardi graduated from Bologna University. From 1977 until 2009, he was involved in sugar beet breeding activity by the Istituto Sperimentale per le Colture Industriali (ISCI) formerly Stazione Sperimentale di Bieticoltura (Rovigo, Italy), where he released rhizomania and cercospora resistant germplasm and collected seeds of Mediterranean sea beet populations as a genetic resource for breeding and ex situ conservation. Retired since 2009, he still collaborates with several working breeders, in
Narrative experiences of researchers that have investigated the sea beet populations around the world and worked with the wild plant One-of-a-kind text entirely devoted to sea beet Illustrated with both detailed line drawings and color photos