Evaluation of chitosan as an inhibitor of soil-borne pathogens and as an elicitor of defence markers and resistance in tobacco plants

A.B. Falcón Rodríguez, D. Costales Menéndez, E. Ortega Delgado, O. León Díaz, J.C. Cabrera Pino

Abstract


In in vitro assays, a chitosan polymer caused differential growth inhibition of the following pathogens isolated from tobacco: Phytophthora parasitica Dastur var. nicotianae (Ppn), Pythium aphanidermatum (Edson) Fitzp, Rhizoctonia solani Kühn, and Sclerotium rolfsii Sacc. The most sensitive were P. aphanidermatum and S. rolfsii, the growth of which was fully inhibited at a chitosan dose of 1.5 g/L; the growth of Ppn was fully inhibited at 2 g/L. In vivo assays involving plants grown from seeds immersed in chitosan, as well as plants sprayed with this product, were performed to detect the induction of defence response markers in the leaf and consequent resistance to disease. Although defence/resistance marker enzyme activities varied, activation was greater in the chitosan-treated plants than in controls. Marker enzyme activities in the sprayed plants were generally equal to or stronger than those recorded in the seed immersion-treated plants, except for phenylalanine ammonia-lyase activity at the lowest immersion concentration tested. Although there were no statistical differences among treatments with respect to resistance against Ppn, the greatest protection was afforded by the spray treatments, in which the infection index was reduced between 17 and 19% compared to the controls. In conclusion, this chitosan polymer directly inhibited the growth of several tobacco pathogens and caused the induction of defence enzymes in leaves, but was not able to protect tobacco plantlets against Ppn infection via the activation of induced resistance. This work demonstrated the potential of chitosan in protecting tobacco plants against soil-borne pathogens.

Keywords


NICOTIANA TABACUM; FUNGAL DISEASES; PYTHIUM BUTLERI; RHIZOCTONIA SOLANI; CORTICIUM ROLFSII; PHYTOPHTHORA NICOTIANAE PARASITICA; CHITOSAN; GROWTH; INHIBITION; INDUCED RESISTANCE; IMMUNITY; DISEASE RESISTANCE; IN VITRO EXPERIMENTATION

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2007054-274