Contribution of light wavelengths to melanin biosynthesis in Monilinia spp. causes brown rot in nectarine

ISHS Secretariat
Contribution of light wavelengths to melanin biosynthesis in Monilinia spp. causes brown rot in nectarine

Lucía Verde is a Ph.D candidate in the Postharvest Programme at the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA), Lleida (Spain), under the supervision of Dr. Rosario Torres and Dr. Josep Usall. She completed her BSc in Biology in 2017, and her MSc in Agrobiotechnology in 2018. These degrees were obtained from A Coruña (Spain) and Salamanca University (Spain), respectively. Her research studies are focused on the disease caused by the fungus, Monilinia spp., known as brown rot, in stone fruit. The main species responsible for this disease are Monilinia laxa, M. fructicola and M. fructigena. Currently, brown rot is considered the most economically important fungal postharvest disease, especially in peaches and nectarines in Spain. The development of brown rot is variable and depends on both the host and environmental factors. Her thesis proposal included studies to evaluate how abiotic factors, in particular light, affect the development and virulence of the fungus in the host, the stone fruit. Light, especially wavelength, is one of the abiotic factors less evaluated in Monilinia spp. that could play an important role in the development of this disease. Among the different phenotypic changes produced by wavelengths, the pigmentation changes produced by melanin are affected. The objective of this work was to analyse and confirm the presence of melanogenesis genes in the three main Monilinia species based on the gene expression of the melanin biosynthesis pathway (DHN) genes, as well as the quantification of melanin in Monilinia spp. exposed under different wavelengths and darkness. Her results have shown that Monilinia spp. could adapt in unfavourable conditions and cause the disease. Overall, abiotic factors, such as light wavelength, play a significant role in the adaptive mechanisms of the fungus during the infection process in brown rot of stone fruit.

Lucía Verde won the ISHS Young Minds Award for the best poster presentation at the VI International Symposium on Postharvest Pathology: Innovation and Advanced Technologies for Managing Postharvest Pathogens in Cyprus in May-June 2022.

Lucía Verde, IRTA, Postharvest Programme, Edifici Fruitcentre, Parc Científic i Tecnològic Agroalimentari, Parc de Gardeny, 25003 Lleida, Catalonia, Spain, e-mail:

The article is available in Chronica Horticulturae

postharvest pathology
Young Minds Award Winners