Spinach is an important ingredient of salads, especially the so-called 'babyleaf' salads. Spinach seedlings may die due to infections caused by pathogens such as Pythium. The death of the seedlings is called 'damping off', more specific post-emergence damping-off.
Even more important is the death of seedlings before emergence, called pre-emergence damping-off. Spinach must be protected against pathogens to prevent severe crop failures . Less vulnerable varieties will therefore help organic and non-organic growers.
The main objective of this project is to develop a breeding strategy for spinach breeding companies to select varieties with tolerance to Pythium. This research is a collaboration of seed technicians, breeders, geneticists and experts in soil borne plant pathogens.