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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Nickle and plant disease

item Wood, Bruce

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/2008
Publication Date: 7/10/2008
Citation: Wood, B.W. 2008. Nickle and plant disease [abstract]. HortScience. 43(3):1055.

Interpretive Summary: Many plant diseases appear to have a physiological cause. It was found that in certain cases disease susceptibility is greatly influenced by host-plant nickel associated nutrition. In other cases, disease is suppressed directly through its effect on the pathogen. This information indicates that in certain cases crop disease management can benefit from greater attention to nickel nutrition and usage.

Technical Abstract: Knowledge of the nutritional physiology of nickel (Ni) is relatively meager. Accumulating evidence indicates that attention to management of Ni nutrition may potentially benefit yield, quality, disease resistance, and disease control of certain crop species, most notably those transporting ureido-nitrogen forms. Nickel deficiencies can trigger a) physiological diseases such as certain forms of “mouse-ear”, “little-leaf”, and “orchard replant disease”, and b) susceptibility to pathogens. Certain host-pathogen interactions exist in an approximate equilibrium that slightly shifts to favor one or the other as the timely bioavailability of Ni changes. An example is the interaction between day-lily and rust disease, with resistance greatly increasing with improved Ni nutrition. Within the context of disease management, disease suppression with Ni is greatest with resistant genotypes rather than with highly susceptible genotypes. Certain crops appear to become predisposed to infection due to Ni deficiency. Once plants are infected, subsequent stress can aggravate the severity of susceptibility by impairing nutrient acquisition and/or utilization and triggering other diseases. There appears to be little or no indirect effect of Ni on disease when endogenous concentrations are within the sufficiency range, but presence of hidden-hunger-type deficiency potentially influences resistance. A transitory Ni deficiency in crops has the potential to affect disease resistance via primary (Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle, Urea Cycle, and Ureide catabolic pathway) and secondary metabolism (Malonic acid pathway, Mevalonic acid pathway, Methylerythritol phosphate pathway); thus affecting key pathways producing nitrogen-containing secondary products, phenolics and terpenes linked to plant defense. Ni also affects disease via a direct fungicidal effect on certain fungal pathogens (e.g. pecan scab fungus). The manipulation of the Ni component of crop nutrition is potentially an important cultural control facet for plant disease. Accumulating evidence indicates that Ni nutrient management should be an integral component of sustainable horticulture for certain Ni-loving crops.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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