Screening Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) for Resistance to Downy Mildew (Pseudoperonospora cubensis)

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Title: Screening Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) for Resistance to Downy Mildew (Pseudoperonospora cubensis)
Author: Criswell, Adam
Advisors: Todd Wehner, Committee Chair
Abstract: Downy mildew, a foliar disease caused by the oomycete Pseudoperonospora cubensis (Berk. and Curt.) Rostow. is one of the most destructive pathogens of cucurbits. Resistant cultivars are available but nevertheless yield losses are high in North Carolina and Poland if fungicides are not used. The first objective of this experiment was to test all available plant introduction accessions from the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System of cucumber for downy mildew resistance under field conditions. The 1289 cultigens were tested at Clinton NC, USA, and Skierniewice, Poland during 2005-2007 under natural field epidemics of the disease. Averaged over locations, eighty-one cultigens were classified as highly resistant, 130 as moderately resistant, 406 as intermediate, 408 as moderately susceptible, and 271 as highly susceptible. The 40 most resistant and 10 most susceptible cultigens from these field trials, were further evaluated in replicated field and greenhouse experiments in North Carolina, along with 22 check cultivars. Results from the retest study in North Carolina confirmed the results of the initial screening study, although the range of downy mildew ratings in the North Carolina field retest were much narrower compared with the screening results obtained in the larger study. The most resistant and most susceptible lines in the screening study were also the most resistant and most susceptible lines in the field retest. The most resistant 10 cultigens averaged over both locations were Ames 2353, Ames 2354, PI 197085, PI 197088, PI 234517, PI 321008, PI 330628, PI 432878, PI 605996 and PI 618931. These cultigens originated from India, the United States, Pakistan, P.R. China and Taiwan. Despite the identification of resistant plant introduction accessions, they were not significantly better than the most resistant cultivars currently used in either North Carolina or Poland. The most positive aspect of the screening effort was that resistant plant introductions originated from diverse geographic regions. Because geographic diversity is often associated with genetic diversity in germplasm collections, the newly identified resistant typed may carry unique alleles as compared to commercial material. If so, then the potential exists to develop recombinant types from crosses of commercial by exotic materials which may be more resistant. The second objective of this study was to measure the correlation of four response traits. A low correlation among the four response traits on a diverse array of cucumber cultigens would suggest that the traits are controlled by different genes. Field studies were conducted to measure the response traits of plant stunting, leaf necrosis, chlorosis and sporulation caused by downy mildew infection. Each of the four traits were measured on 67 diverse cucumber cultigens in North Carolina and India. All cucumber cultigens were tested in four replications and two locations under natural field epidemics of the disease. A significant genotype by location interaction was found by analysis of variance and data from the two locations were analyzed separately. In North Carolina, necrosis and chlorosis were highly correlated (r=0.90) while sporulation was moderately correlated with necrosis and chlorosis(r=0.71 and r=0.70, respectively) and not significantly correlated with stunting. Stunting was moderately correlated with necrosis and chlorosis (r=0.43 and r=0.34, respectively). In India, chlorosis and sporulation were highly correlated (r=0.97) while necrosis was moderately correlated with chlorosis, sporulation and stunting (r=0.67 and r=0.0.65 and r=0.76, respectively). Stunting was moderately correlated with chlorosis and sporulation (r=0.55 and r=0.57, respectively). Sporulation or necrosis may be controlled by a different gene(s) but another year of testing is required. Stunting may also be controlled by a different gene(s) but difficulties in differentiating between stunting resulting from genotype and stunting resulting from disease must be resolved. Different degrees of correlation among chlorosis, necrosis and sporulation in North Carolina and India may be due to the presence of different races in the two locations. These differences may also be explained by the variable number and timing of ratings between the two locations. Availability of only one set of data for sporulation in North Carolina may have reduced the correlation between it and necrosis and chlorosis. Sporulation ratings need to be taken on a weekly basis rather than once during the last rating. Therefore, the possibility exists that chlorosis, necrosis and sporulation are response traits controlled by the same genes.
Date: 2008-07-22
Degree: MS
Discipline: Horticultural Science

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