Correlation of cytological and biochemical parameters with resistance and tolerance to Mycosphaerella graminicola in wheat


  • Editor
    J. Cullimore

Philippe L. Reignault, Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale, UCEIV, GIS PhyNoPi, B.P. 699 Calais Cedex, F-62228 France.


This study investigated the infection process of Mycosphaerella graminicola and enzyme activities related to reactive oxygen species (ROS) or oxylipin biosynthesis in four French wheat cultivars with variable resistance to M. graminicola infection. At field level, cultivars Caphorn, Maxyl and Gen11 were susceptible, whereas Capnor showed high levels of quantitative resistance. Moreover, Capnor and Gen11 were tolerant, i.e., their yield was less affected by infection compared to non-tolerant Maxyl and Caphorn. These four cultivars were inoculated under laboratory conditions with the M. graminicola IPO323 reference strain. Cytological and biochemical responses were studied on collected first plantlet leaves and several features discriminated between cultivars. However, resistance and tolerance had no impact on the fungal infection process. Levels of lipoxygenase (LOX), peroxidase (PO) and glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activities were also compared with regard to cultivar resistance or tolerance to M. graminicola. LOX, PO and GST activities did not discriminate resistance and tolerance profiles, although a low level of PO in inoculated and non-inoculated plants could be associated with tolerance. In addition, cell necrosis correlated positively with LOX in non-tolerant cultivars, while mycelia surrounding stomata were positively correlated with PO in the resistant cultivar. GST activity presented correlations between cytological and biochemical parameters only for susceptible cultivars. Stomatal and direct penetration were positively correlated with GST activity in the susceptible non-tolerant cultivars, while these correlations were negative in the tolerant cultivar. When combining cytological and biochemical observations with resistance and tolerance profiles, for each cultivar and at each time point, cultivars could be classified in tight accordance with their previous field characterisation. Moreover, tolerance allowed us to distinguish susceptible cultivars when both biochemical and cytological parameters were considered together.