ISF International Seed Federation



The International Bremia Evaluation Board (IBEB)

Bremia: a common enemy

Bremia lactucae, the causal organism of downy mildew in lettuce, is a major threat to lettuce production. Farmers often need to use both fungicides and resistance genes to prevent heavy losses. Reliable information about resistances in relation to the local strains of Bremia is essential for a successful and durable disease control strategy.

A joint initiative

The International Bremia Evaluation Board (IBEB) is a joint initiative of lettuce breeding companies in France and the Netherlands, the Dutch inspection service (Naktuinbouw) and the French National Seed Station (GEVES). IBEB's mission is to identify new races of Bremia lactucae that pose a significant threat to the European lettuce industry and promote the use of commonly accepted race names in communication with growers.

To this end IBEB maintains a well defined and internationally agreed system of race denomination. Companies in IBEB provide information on the genetic background of lettuce varieties while Naktuinbouw and GEVES serve as independent testing facilities to streamline the process of identifying new races of Bremia lactucae. Information about the evolution of the pathogen in response to resistance in lettuce varieties is updated annually.

Differentials and races

IBEB decides on the definition of a set of host differentials with distinct major resistance genes (see Table 1) and on the denomination of new races of Bremia lactucae (see Table 2). A binary coding system for the description of reaction patterns is used (Van Ettekoven and Van der Arend, 1999) and denominated isolates have the prefix "Bl:" followed by a space and the race number. IBEB has denominated a total of 15 new isolates in the period from 1999 to 2013 starting with Bl: 17.

Table 1. Differential sets defined by IBEB

The EU-A set was defined in 1999. In 2010 a new set EU-B was defined which included three replacements and five additions (in bold). Replacements were necessary due to problems with seed quality while progress in breeding brought additions. Each differential is used in a fixed set position and is characterised by a single known resistance gene mentioned in the column under the header “R-gene”.


Sextet Set R-gene Variety or Line
number position   EU-A EU-B
0 0   Cobham Green Green Towers
1 1 Dm1 Lednicky Lednicky
  2 Dm2 UC DM2  UC DM2
  3 Dm3 Dandie  Dandie
  4 Dm4 R4T57 D  R4T57 D
  5 Dm5/Dm8 Valmaine  Valmaine
  6 Dm6 Sabine  Sabine
 2 7 Dm7 LSE 57/15  LSE 57/15
  8 Dm10 UC DM10  UC DM10
  9 Dm11 Capitan  Capitan
  10 Dm12 Hilde II Hilde II
  11 Dm13 Pennlake  Pennlake
  12 Dm14 UC DM14  UC DM14
 3 13 Dm15 PIVT 1309  NunDm15
  14 Dm16 LSE/18  CG Dm16
  15 Dm17 LS-102  NunDm17
  16 Dm18 Colorado  Colorado
  17 R36* Ninja  Ninja
  18 R37** Discovery  Discovery
 4 19 R38 Argelès  Argelès
  20 "Silvinas"    RYZ2164
  21 "Murai"    RYZ910457
  22 monogenic    Bedford
  23 monogenic    Balesta
  24 monogenic    Bellissimo

*R36 is also described as DM3+Dm4+Dm11+Rsal-1
** R37 is also decribed as Dm7+Rsal-1


Table 2. Reaction of Bremia races Bl:1-31 to the EU-B set of differentials

Resistance is indicated with – or (-), susceptibility is indicated with + or (+). The brackets indicate a lower and sometimes variable level of expression of the phenotype.


The EU-B set of 24 differential varieties consists of four groups of six varieties (sextets) (see Table 3). The position of a differential within the sextet determines the sextet value of that differential. Sextet values are ascending powers of 2 (1, 2, 4, 8, 16 or 32). The sextet code of an isolate is the sum of the sextet values of the differentials that are susceptible, as indicated by + or (+) in the table. For example, the first sextet code of Bl:27 is 63 because all differentials are susceptible and 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + 16 + 32 = 63, and the fourth sextet code is 1 + 2 + 16 = 19. The virulence pattern of Bl:27 on the EU-B set is completely described by the codes of the four sextets as 63-63-13-19.

Note that race 8 and 9 do not exist.

Table 3. Sextet codes of the Bremia races denominated by IBEB
Race EU-B Sextet code
Bl:1 11-58-00-00
Bl:2 63-58-00-49
Bl:3 56-59-01-32
Bl:4 27-59-00-00
Bl:5 05-27-01-00
Bl:6 27-62-00-00
Bl:7 47-59-00-00
Bl:10 63-59-00-00
Bl:11 57-59-03-00
Bl:12 57-63-03-00
Bl:13 21-63-00-00
Bl:14 63-62-00-00
Bl:15 31-31-00-00
Bl:16 63-31-02-00
Bl:17 22-59-41-08
Bl:18 59-31-10-00
Bl:19 63-62-00-01
Bl:20 63-31-10-00
Bl:21 63-31-51-00
Bl:22 59-63-09-16
Bl:23 63-31-02-01
Bl:24 59-31-10-01
Bl:25 59-31-42-00
Bl:26 63-31-58-01
Bl:27 63-63-13-19
Bl:28 59-31-10-05
Bl:29 59-63-47-03
Bl:30 59-63-13-03
Bl:31 63-63-12-06


A table with important isolates described outside the scope of IBEB is presented below.

Table 4. Bremia isolates from California and elsewhere



Thousands of isolates have been collected by Bremia workers whenever or wherever there was a reason to expect the presence of a novel or resistance-breaking race. A total of 4331 isolates (Table 5) were tested in the period 2002-2012, mostly from the northwestern part of Europe (Figure 1). All these isolates were tested on the differential set in order to confirm the novelty of their reaction pattern. 

Table 5. Number of isolates obtained and analysed by IBEB in the period 2002-2012
Year Isolates
2002 203
2003 264
2004 362
2005 496
2006 443
2007 668
2008 502
2009 473
2010 343
2011 313
2012 264
Total 4331


Figure 1. Intensity of IBEB monitoring activity in different European countries 2002-2010

Race denomination

When a specific reaction pattern appears repeatedly in several countries and over several years, IBEB identifies isolates with this pattern as a threat to the lettuce industry, defines a new race and denominates an isolate for this new race. In 1999 - the second year of IBEB’s existence - four new isolates were denominated. One isolate was denominated in the following years: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2011.

Significance of IBEB's work

IBEB's activities have gained wide acceptance and have been the basis for important updates in the regulatory framework for variety description defined by CPVO (the Community Plant Variety Office) within Europe and globally by UPOV (the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants). A test on Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) is performed to get a variety listed on the EU common catalogue or to have it protected by Plant Breeders' Rights. In the EU DUS tests are executed according to the rules and protocols of the CPVO. In non-EU countries UPOV guidelines are used. A summary table of obligatory and facultative isolates for variety registration is given in Table 6.

Table 6. Status of Bremia isolates in CPVO and UPOV protocols for DUS tests

This table is based on CPVO Technical Protocol TP 013/5 and UPOV Technical Guideline TG/13/10.

BI:1 - -
BI:2 C C
BI:3 - -
BI:4 - -
BI:5 C C
BI:6 - -
BI:7 C C
BI:10 - -
BI:11 - -
BI:12 C C
BI:13 - -
BI:14 C C
BI:15 C C
BI:16 C* C*
BI:17 C C
BI:18 C C
BI:19 - -
BI:20 C[*] C
BI:21 C[*] C
BI:22 C[*] C
BI:23 C[*] C
BI:24 C[*] C
BI:25 C[*] C
BI:26 C[*] C
BI:27 C C
BI:28 - -
BI:29 - -
BI:30 - -
BI:31 - -



C: Characteristic included in the test protocol or guideline. The test result may be included in the official variety description.

C*: Obligatory to test for this characteristic. The test result must be included in the variety description.

[*]: Obligatory to test for this characteristic if the variety is resistant to Bl: 16.

- : The test result cannot be included in the official variety description except when the procedure for additional characteristics is followed. This procedure will take more time.


Validated differentials and isolates may be requested at Naktuinbouw in the Netherlands or GEVES in France by Bremia workers all over the world. IBEB expects that users of the differential set would be willing to contribute to the ongoing battle with Bremia by sharing their data with IBEB.


Van Ettekoven, C. and A. van der Arend (1999) Identification and denomination of “new” races of Bremia lactucae. Pages 105-107 in Proceedings of Eucarpia meeting on Leafy Vegetables Genetics and Breeding. Olomuc, Czech Republic.

Maisonneuve, B. (2011) Amélioration des hôtes différentiels Bremia : obtention de lignées de laitue à résistance monogénique. Innovations Agronomiques, 15, 9-14.


Descriptions, recommendations and illustrations are based as closely as possible on experiences in tests and in practice. IBEB and ISF accept no liability on the use of this information. 

ISF Secretariat - Chemin du Reposoir 7 - 1260 Nyon Switzerland

Disclaimer | © 2017 International Seed Federation

tel +41 22 365 44 20 - fax +41 22 365 44 21 -

ISF Secretariat - Chemin du Reposoir 7 - 1260 Nyon Switzerland

tel +41 22 365 44 20 - fax +41 22 365 44 21 -