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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement and Protection

Title: Preliminary evaluation of apple germplasm from Kazakhstan for resistance to blue mold decay caused by Penicillium expansum after harvest

item Forsline, Philip

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 10, 2007
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
Citation: Janisiewicz, W.J., Saftner, R.A., Conway, W.S., Forsline, P.L. 2008. Preliminary evaluation of apple germplasm from Kazakhstan for resistance to blue mold decay caused by Penicillium expansum after harvest. HortScience.43(2):420-426.

Interpretive Summary: Blue mold caused by fungus, Penicillium expansum, is the major postharvest disease of apples. There are no reports comparing resistance of apple collections to blue mold or any other postharvest disease, and breeders do not consider resistance to postharvest diseases when evaluating their crosses. We evaluated apple collection from Kazkhstan, the place of apple origin, for resistance to blue mold. To determine the proper time for harvesting this diverse collection of apples, we conducted fruit maturity tests for every apple type used in the evaluation. Several apple types showed complete resistance to blue mold at the fungus concentration level corresponding to the levels found in commercial packinghouse on packing lines, the main place of fruit contamination with the fungus. This apple collection appears to have a greater genetic diversity than cultivated apples as evidenced by its broad range of fruit maturity, quality, and disease resistance patterns, and eventually, should serve as a potential source of genetic material to improve postharvest fruit resistance against blue mold. It could also provide excellent material for studying the mechanism of apple resistance to blue mold.

Technical Abstract: Blue mold of apples, incited by Penicillium expansum, causes extensive loss on stored apples worldwide. Despite the severity of this problem, apple breeders do not evaluate their crosses for resistance to this disease, because there has been little resistance to blue mold in the gene pool of the germplasm used. A new apple germplasm collection from the center of origin in Kazakhstan, maintained in Geneva, NY, and representing a much broader gene pool, was evaluated for resistance to blue mold. Apples were harvested from the Elite collection trees that were clonally propagated from budwood collected from trees in Kazakhstan and from seedling trees. The latter originated from seeds of the same trees as the Elite budwood or from different trees in Kazakhstan. Fruit from 83 such accessions were harvested at the preclimacteric to climacteric stage, wound-inoculated with P. expansum at 103, 104, and 105 ml-1 conidial suspension, incubated for 5 d at 24 deg C, and evaluated for decay severity and incidence. Two accessions were classified as immune (no decay at 103 and 104 ml-1), four as resistant (no decay at 103 ml-1), 53 as moderately resistant (lesions <10 mm at 103 ml-1), and 24 as susceptible. Our results indicate a greater diversity among the Kazak apple collection than among cultivated apples as evidenced by their broad range of fruit maturity, quality, and disease resistance patterns. The immune and resistant accessions may serve as a source of resistance in breeding programs and can be useful in explaining the mechanism of resistance to blue mold in apples.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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