An Efficient in vitro Assay to Predict Resistance and Pathogenicity in the Fusarium Head Blight-Hordeum Vulgare Pathosystem

Nachaat Sakr1 , * Open Modal Authors Info & Affiliations
The Open Agriculture Journal 09 June 2020 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874331502014010087



Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) worldwide is affected seriously by Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) disease caused by several Fusarium species. In vitro assays permitting for easy, efficient and reliable prediction of the head blight reaction in the whole plant should be investigated.

Objective and Methods:

The in vitro ability of 16 fungal isolates of four FHB species to confer disease on individual plant organs was evaluated using a coleoptile infection assay. Four quantitative components (Seed Germination (SG), Coleoptile Length (CL), Coleoptile Weight (CW) and Root Weight (RW)) were analyzed in two widely cultivated barley cultivars, Arabi Aswad (AS) and Arabi Abiad (AB), with known quantitative resistance.


Differences in inoculated pathogenicity and resistance treatments were observed on young plant parts relative to water controls, indicating that these FHB species were found to be suitable for the differential expression of all tested quantitative components. There was a wide variation in pathogenicity among the 16 FHB isolates and susceptibility among AS and AB. The 16 FHB isolates can be separated into the first group with larger number of isolates, upon infection with which AB really was more susceptible to FHB infection than AS, and isolates of the second group with leaser number of isolates for which AS and AB react was the opposite. On AB, rather susceptible, inoculation with FHB species resulted in significantly less SG, CL, CW and RW, compared with AS, which showed a greater resistance. The very good resistance of AS was confirmed by the measurements of quantitative resistance components described in this study. When infected with FHB isolates, all indicators of a more susceptible cultivar seemed to be 10-20% less than those of a resistant cultivar. Moreover, the values of all analyzed components were significantly correlated with the data of pathogenic indices generated in vitro, and under controlled and field conditions with a large diversity depending on AS and AB.


Appropriate in vitro conditions were determined for the coleoptile infection assay to maximize differences in disease reactions components among FHB isolates and the two barley cultivars. Results suggest that all measured components predict resistance and pathogenicity occurring at the earliest and latest barley development stages during FHB infection. Our data also highlighted, for the first time, the utility of CW and RW for the determination of resistance and pathogenicity in the FHB-barley pathosystem. The coleoptile infection test was confirmed to be adequate to in vitro, growth chamber and field data by the presence of the first group, which prevailed in all other tests generated under different experimental conditions. The in vitro coleoptile infection assay may offer a real possibility of simple, rapid and reliable screening of resistance in barley cultivars and pathogenicity of FHB species.

Keywords: Barley resistance, Coleoptile length, Coleoptile weight, Pathogenic level, Root weight, Seed germination.
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