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Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01559

Assessment of resistance components for improved phenotyping of grapevine varieties resistant to downy mildew

  • 1Department of Sustainable Plant Production Sciences, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Piacenza, Italy
  • 2Research Center on Biodiversity and Ancient DNA, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Italy

Grapevine varieties showing partial resistance to downy mildew, caused by Plasmopara viticola, are a promising alternative to fungicides for disease control. Resistant varieties are obtained through breeding programs aimed at incorporating Rpv loci controlling the quantitative resistance into genotypes characterised by valuable agronomic and wine quality traits by mean of crossing. Traditional phenotyping methods used in these breeding programs are mostly based on the assessment of the resistance level after artificial inoculation of leaf discs in bioassays, by using the visual score proposed in the 2nd Edition of the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) Descriptor List for Grape Varieties and Vitis species (2009). In this work, the OIV score was compared with an alternative approach, not used for the grapevine-downy mildew pathosystem so far, based on the measurement of components of resistance (RCs); 15 grapevine resistant varieties were used in comparison with the susceptible variety ‘Merlot’. OIV scores were significantly correlated with P. viticola infection frequency (IFR), the latent period for the downy mildew (DM) lesions to appear (LP50), and the number of sporangia produced per lesion (SPOR), so that when the OIV score increased (i.e., the resistance level increases), IFR and SPOR decreased, while LP50 increased. The relationship was linear for LP50, monomolecular for IFR and hyperbolic for SPOR. No significant correlation was found between OIV score and DM lesion size, sporangia produced per unit area of lesion, length of infectious period, and infection efficiency of the sporangia produced on DM lesions. The correlation between OIV score and area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC) calculated by using the RCs and a simulation model was significant and fit an inverse exponential function. Based on the results of this study, the measurement of the RCs to P. viticola in grapevine varieties by means of monocyclic, leaf disc bioassays, as well as their incorporation into a model able to simulate their effect on the polycyclic development of DM epidemics in vineyards, represents an improved method for phenotyping resistance level.

Keywords: Plasmopara viticola, Vitis vinifera, partial resistance, RPV, OIV score

Received: 27 Jun 2019; Accepted: 07 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Bove, Bavaresco, Caffi and Rossi. 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) and the copyright owner(s) 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: Prof. Vittorio Rossi, Department of Sustainable Plant Production Sciences, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Piacenza, Piacenza, Italy, vittorio.rossi@unicatt.it