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Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.02025

Influence of environmental conditions and genetic background of Arabica coffee (C. arabica L) on leaf rust (Hemileia vastatrix) pathogenesis

  • 1UMR IPME, Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), France
  • 2nestle R&D Tours, France
  • 3UMR IPME, Institut de recherche pour le développement, France
  • 4UMR IPME, IRD, France
  • 5UMR QualiSud, University of Avignon, France

Global warming is a major threat to agriculture worldwide. Between 2008 and 2013, some coffee producing countries in South and Central America suffered from severe epidemics of coffee leaf rust (CLR), resulting in high economic losses with social implications for coffee growers. The climatic events not only favoured the development of the pathogen but also affected the physiological status of the coffee plant. The main objectives of the study were to evaluate how the physiological status of the coffee plant modified by different environmental conditions impact on the pathogenesis of CLR and to identify indicators of the physiological status able to predict rust incidence. Three rust susceptible genotypes (one inbred line and two hybrids) were grown in controlled conditions with a combination of thermal regime (TR), nitrogen and light intensity close to the field situation before being inoculated with the rust fungus Hemileia vastatrix. It has been demonstrated that a TR of 27 -22 °C resulted in 2 000 times higher sporulation than with a TR of 23-18 °C. It has been also shown that high light intensity combined with low nitrogen fertilisation modified the CLR pathogenesis resulting in huge sporulation. CLR sporulation was significantly lower in the F1 hybrids than in the inbred line. The hybrid vigour may have reduced disease incidence. Among the many parameters studied, parameters related to photosystem II and photosynthetic electron transport chain components appeared as indicators of the physiological status of the coffee plant able to predict rust sporulation intensity. Taken together, these results show that CLR sporulation not only depends on the TR but also on the physiological status of the coffee plant, which itself depends on agronomic conditions. Our work suggests that vigorous varieties combined with a shaded system and appropriate nitrogen fertilisation should be part of an agro-ecological approach to disease control.

Keywords: coffea arabica, coffee leaf rust, biotic-abiotic interaction, Chlorophyll a fluorescence, hybrid vigour

Received: 26 Jun 2017; Accepted: 14 Nov 2017.

Edited by:

Jorge Almiro P. Paiva, Institute of Plant Genetics (PAN), Poland

Reviewed by:

Dora Batista, CIFC/IICT - Centro de Investigação das Ferrugens do Cafeeiro/Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical, Portugal
Carlos A. Labate, University of São Paulo, Brazil
Ana Magro, The School of Agriculture, Portugal  

Copyright: © 2017 Toniutti, Breitler, Etienne, CAMPA, DOULBEAU, Urban, Lambot, Herrera Pinilla and Bertrand. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Miss. Lucile Toniutti, Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), UMR IPME, 911 avenue Agropolis, Montpellier, 34394, France,