For plants, the term stress describes the effects of a strain, which is caused by external factors, the so-called stressors. Besides the essential growth factors (light, water and nutrients), also phytopathogenic organisms and anthropogenic compounds, like exhaust gases and chemicals used in plant protection, belong to the potential stressors. All the important stressors, which occur during the production of sugar beet in German growth areas, are discussed. For water deficiency, rhizomania infection and herbicide treatment, the effects of stress on physiology, yield and juice quality of sugar beet are described in more detail. Stress produced by water deficiency and rhizomania may reduces root yield considerably, because it decreases the rate of photosynthesis and accelerates the senescence of leaves. In contrast, a herbicide treatment hampers photosynthesis of sugar beet in most cases only temporarily, which is for instance represented by an inhibitor of photosynthesis affecting chlorophyll fluorescence. Negative effects of stress on juice quality of sugar beet are usually due to a decreased sugar content or an increased content of certain melassogenic compounds.
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