University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0197752
Number of pages22
JournalPLoS ONE
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2018


Using cultivar resistance against pathogens is one of the most economical and environmentally friendly methods for control of crop diseases. However, cultivar resistance can be easily rendered ineffective due to changes in pathogen populations or environments. To test the hypothesis that combining R gene-mediated resistance and quantitative resistance (QR) in one cultivar can provide more effective resistance than use of either type of resistance on its own, effectiveness of resistance in eight oilseed rape (Brassica napus) cultivars with different R genes and/or QR against Leptosphaeria maculans (phoma stem canker) was investigated in 13 different environments/sites over three growing seasons (2010/2011, 2011/2012 and 2012/2013). Cultivar Drakkar with no R genes and no QR was used as susceptible control and for sampling L. maculans populations. Isolates of L. maculans were obtained from the 13 sites in 2010/2011 to assess frequencies of avirulent alleles of different effector genes (AvrLm1, AvrLm4 or AvrLm7) corresponding to the resistance genes (Rlm1, Rlm4 or Rlm7) used in the field experiments. Results of field experiments showed that cultivars DK Cabernet (Rlm1 + QR) and Adriana (Rlm4 + QR) had significantly less severe phoma stem canker than cultivars Capitol (Rlm1) and Bilbao (Rlm4), respectively. Results of controlled environment experiments confirmed the presence of Rlm genes and/or QR in these four cultivars. Analysis of L. maculans populations from different sites showed that the mean frequencies of AvrLm1 (10%) and AvrLm4 (41%) were less than that of AvrLm7 (100%), suggesting that Rlm1 and Rlm4 gene-mediated resistances were partially rendered ineffective while Rlm7 resistance was still effective. Cultivar Excel (Rlm7 + QR) had less severe canker than cultivar Roxet (Rlm7), but the difference between them was not significant due to influence of the effective resistance gene Rlm7. For the two cultivars with only QR, Es-Astrid (QR) had less severe stem canker than NK Grandia (QR). Analysis of the relationship between severity of stem canker and weather data among the 13 sites in the three growing seasons showed that increased severity of stem canker was associated with increased rainfall during the phoma leaf spot development stage and increased temperature during the stem canker development stage. Further analysis of cultivar response to environmental factors showed that cultivars with both an Rlm gene and QR (e.g. DK Cabernet, Adriana and Excel) were less sensitive to a change in environment than cultivars with only Rlm genes (e.g. Capitol, Bilbao) or only QR (e.g. DK Grandia). These results suggest that combining R gene and QR can provide effective, stable control of phoma stem canker in different environments.


© 2018 Huang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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