“Rust: A Dry Bean Disease Story in North Dakota,” Cecilia Monclova-Santana (2018 3MT finalist)


Hello, my name is Cecilia Monclova. I’m
from the plant pathology department. Beans, aren’t they delicious. Think for a
moment on your favorite bean dish. You got it? maybe your thought is chili or
bean soup or a nice rice and beans, all of them equally tasty. Plenty of studies
has shown that the consumption of beans can reduce the risk of heart diseases,
diabetes and even cancer. The consumption of beans is a high protein and fiber
content but it also represents a multimillionaire industry for North
Dakota. Actually in 2016 it represented 250 millions of dollars in revenue for
the state. Pinto, black, red kidney, Great Northern, cranberry and navy are the
preferred bean market classes commonly grown in the Midwest. I work with beans.
Actually, I am somewhat a doctor of beans. Like humans, bean plants often get sick
and those diseases limits their productivity. So what do growers do when
the million dollar industry is compromised? As part of my research I
study a disease named bean rust. This disease is caused by a fungus that
causes a rusty symptom on bean leaves, stems and even parts. After infection,
the fungus colonizes the plant tissue depriving them to produce a good yield.
If bean rusts happened early in the season it can reach epidemic levels,
compromising the entire production. So this is where I enter the picture to
help. In summer 2015 and 2016, we conducted a survey looking for bean rust
across North Dakota counties. Even though previous researchers and breeders have
developed bean lines that are resistant to bean rust, plenty of the rough traces
that we found in the field overcome those resistant genes. We identified 14
different traces that managed to still infect bean lines in the field. We
decided to study this population in depth and we found that this is a unique
very diverse population limited to North Dakota only. Pinto bean is the preferred bean for growers and consumers is highly susceptible and
get sick almost 90% of the time. Later we decided to study new bean lines to
see new sources of resistance and we found that black beans and red kidney
are the ones to manage to still produce a good yield even though the rust disease
is in the field. This information will help farmers and growers in North Dakota
to develop better adapted bean lines and having this information now we can
create a plan to prevent future bean rust epidemics and to assure food safety
for us and generations to come. Thank you.

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