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Keywords:

  • fungal diseases;
  • phenolic compounds;
  • plant resistance;
  • Rubus idaeus

The phenolic profile of healthy and infected raspberry canes was investigated in three raspberry cultivars: Autumn Bliss, Himbo Top and Polka. The content of total phenols and tannins was determined using spectrophotometric methods, whilst individual phenolic acids, flavan-3-ols, ellagic acid derivatives and glycosides of quercetin were analysed using HPLC/MS analysis. The content of secondary metabolites varied considerably among the analysed raspberry cultivars. Moreover, Didymella applanata and Leptosphaeria coniothyrium infection significantly altered the metabolism of phenolic compounds. Flavanols represented the greatest share of all identified phenolics in raspberry canes (90%), followed by glycosides of quercetin (6%), derivatives of ellagic acid (3%) and traces of hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives. Spur and cane blight diseases caused an increase of flavan-3-ols and tannins but the levels of hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives, conjugates of ellagic acid and quercetin glycosides were significantly reduced. Cultivars Himbo Top and Polka contained higher levels of hydroxycinnamic acid and ellagic acid derivatives in healthy and infected canes compared to cv. Autumn Bliss. Cultivar Polka also contained the highest level of flavanols and tannins. However, despite high levels of flavanols and total phenols measured in cv. Polka, the canes were highly diseased following infection with D. applanata and L. coniothyrium. The results of the study provide evidence that the level of phenolic compounds in the canes could be causally linked to the differences in disease susceptibility.