Genetics of resistance to blue mould in apple: inoculation-based screening, transcriptomics and biochemistry

M. Ahmadi-Afzadi, K. Rumpunen, J.P. Renou, M. Orsel, S. Pelletier, M. Bruneau, A. Ekholm, I. Tahir, H. Nybom
Blue mould caused by Penicillium expansum is a major contributor to loss of marketable fruit during storage. Damage is also aggravated by the prohibition of postharvest fungicides in many countries, and in organic production everywhere. Robust data on levels of resistance to this disease are crucial for further research and for breeding of improved cultivars. Inoculation of fruit with fungal spores and estimation of the diameter of resulting lesions after cold storage demonstrated significant variation among cultivars. In addition, cultivars with high firmness at harvest and little softening, i.e., loss of firmness during storage, had less susceptibility, as also did late-ripening cultivars. In another part of the study, a possible association between lesion diameter and chemical contents in fruit flesh and fruit peel of 23 cultivars was investigated. Content of different quercetins and procyanidin B2 was positively associated with the level of tolerance. Samples taken after inoculation showed stronger association with the chemical contents than did samples of control fruit, suggesting that disease development had triggered a defence reaction. In a third part of the study, gene regulation in apple fruit after inoculation was evaluated in two relatively resistant and two relatively susceptible cultivars using an AryANE chip covering 60K apple transcripts. Validation of the most highly up- and down-regulated genes was undertaken using qPCR. Some genes related to disease resistance, biosynthesis of flavonoids and to cell-wall structure were identified as most likely to be responsible for differences in susceptibility to blue mould. These results will be used to search for candidate genes that can be used in marker-assisted selection in apple breeding.
Ahmadi-Afzadi, M., Rumpunen, K., Renou, J.P., Orsel, M., Pelletier, S., Bruneau, M., Ekholm, A., Tahir, I. and Nybom, H. (2016). Genetics of resistance to blue mould in apple: inoculation-based screening, transcriptomics and biochemistry. Acta Hortic. 1127, 55-60
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1127.10
candidate genes, chemical contents, gene expression, Malus domestica, Penicillium expansum, polyphenols, storage disease

Acta Horticulturae