Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), an important food crop in the world, is susceptible to many fungal pathogens including Alternaria solani and Fusarium oxysporum causing Fusarium wilt and early blight diseases. Mycoparasitic fungi like Trichoderma encode chitinases, cell wall degrading enzymes, with high antifungal activity against a wide range of phytopathogenic fungi. In this study, a binary vector harboring endochitinase gene of ~1,000 bp was constructed and used to transform potato nodes through Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Out of several primary transformants, two transgenic potato lines were verified for transgene insertion and integration by Southern blot. In a pot experiment for Fusarium resistance, the transgenic potato lines didn’t show any symptoms of disease, instead they remained healthy post infection. The transgenic potato lines exhibited 1.5 fold higher mRNA expression of endochitinase at 7 days as compared to 0 day post fungus inoculation. It was evident that the mRNA expression decreased over days of inoculation but was still higher than at 0 day and remained stable upto 30 days post inoculation. Similarly, for A. solani infection assay, the mRNA expression of the endochitinase gene was 3 fold higher 7 days post inoculation compared to expression at 0 day. Although the expression decreased by1.2 fold during subsequent days post infection, it remained stable for 30 days, suggesting that protection in transgenic potato plants against fungal pathogens was achieved through an increase in endochitinase transcript.
Potato white mold caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is an important plant disease occurring in many potato-producing areas throughout the world. In this study, a specific diagnostic method was used to detect and quantify S. sclerotiorum ascospores, and its forecasting ability was assessed in potato fields during flowering periods of 2011 to 2014 in Bahar County, Hamedan Province. Using GenEMBL database, a primer pair, HZSCREV and HZSCFOR, was designed and optimized for the pathogen. After testing the sensitivity of primers, DNA was extracted from samples of outdoor Burkard traps from potato fields. A linear association was observed between pathogen DNA and the number of ascospores using the quantitative PCR (qPCR) technique in the presence of SYBR dye. The qPCR could successfully detect DNA amounts representing two S. sclerotiorum ascospores and was not sensitive to a variety of tested fungi such as Botrytis cinerea, Alternaria brassicae, Fusarium solani. In contrast to the amount of rainfall, a direct relationship was found between ascospore numbers and the incidence of potato white mold from 2011 to 2014.
Potato virus Y (PVY) is one of the most destructive viruses infecting potato in Egypt and worldwide. Recent research has shown that a necrotic PVY-NTN strain is infecting potato in Upper Egypt. Chemical control is not effective to control this viral pathogen. An alternative to control PVY infecting potato is using a mild PVY strain to elicit systemic cross protection in potato plants against infection with a severe necrotic strain of PVY. Results of this study showed that a PVY necrotic strain produced a significant lesser number of local lesions on diagnostic plants (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) when these plants were treated first with a mild PVY strain. Data obtained from greenhouse and field experiments indicated that treatment of potato plants (variety Burna) with a mild PVY strain significantly protected potato from infection with a severe necrotic PVY strain, and resulted in a significant increase in tuber yield compared with infected plants without prior treatment with a mild PVY strain. The highest increase in potato tuber yield was obtained when potato plants were inoculated with a mild PVY strain 3 days before challenging with the severe necrotic PVY strain. This study proved that using a mild strain of PVY can significantly protect potato plants from infection with a severe strain of this virus under both greenhouse and field conditions and can present a potential method to reduce losses due to infection of this virus in Assiut governorate and Upper Egypt.
The tuber necrotic strain of Potato virus Y (PVYNTN) causes widespread disease and has severe negative effects on the growth and yields of plants, especially those of the Solanaceae family. The consequences of residual toxicity and non-biodegradation of synthetic chemicals and pollution of the environment has led to investigations into new non-toxic and biological treatments to control plant viral diseases. Ethanolic extracts of Bowiea volubilis (bulbs), Cotyledon orbiculata (leaves), Gomphocarpus fruticosus (leaves), Merwilla plumbea (dry and fresh bulbs), Nerium oleander (leaves), and the fruits and leaves of Strophanthus speciosus, were evaluated against PVYNTN in vivo and in vitro. At a concentration of 20 mg · ml−1, ethanolic extracts of Strophanthus speciosus (leaves) and fruits (50 mg · ml−1) significantly reduced the expression of PVYNTN symptoms on tobacco plants in vitro without affecting the normal growth and development of the plant. Similarly, at 50 mg · ml−1, N. oleander, C. orbiculata and B. volubilis (fresh bulbs) and S. speciousus leaves at 20 mg · ml−1 extracts showed significant differences in PVYNTN symptoms in the in vivo experiment. Strophanthus speciosus leaf and fruit extracts showed significant inhibition in the in vitro and in vivo assays and demonstrated that S. speciosus has potential to be used as an antiphytoviral treatment.
Effective control of Leptinotarsa decemlineata remains an urgent problem for agriculture worldwide. Minimization of the use of non-selective neonicotinoid insecticides, such as thiomethoxam, is an actual vector of development of potato cultivation. In this rapid communication, we show the prospect of the topical use of short unmodified antisense fragment of L. decemlineata CYP6B gene as a DNA insecticide. Investigated parameters, namely, number of larvae per plant, aboveground biomass, yield and number of potatoes produced per plant indicate the possibility of this post-genomic approach as a safe and effective method of L. decemlineata control.