Comparative physiological and histological investigations on resistant and susceptible pomegranate genotypes infected with Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. punicae

Priya, B Tanuja; Murthy, B NS; Laxman, R H


Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. punicae (Xap) is a bacterial pathogen wreaking havoc in pomegranate cultivation. It causes bacterial blight disease dwindling yield and making fruit unfit for consumption. Physiological and histological investigations during host-pathogen interaction are prerequisite to assess the onset of defense mechanism in plants. Therefore, we tried to compare the pomegranate resistant (IC 318734) and highly susceptible (Ruby) genotypes challenged with Xap. The bacterial suspension containing Xap cells of 0.3 OD600 (~106 to 107CFU mL−1) was used for challenge inoculation. Uniformly grown resistant and highly susceptible plants were selected, the surface of leaves was pricked and spray-inoculated with bacterial suspension using native strain IIHR1 (NCBI Gen Bank ID: KT 222897). Simultaneously, the control plants were also sprayed with only distilled water and observed. A total of three replications with five plants per replication were maintained and evaluated under completely randomized design. Physiological investigations were recorded using Portable photosynthesis system (LCpro+, ADC BioScientific limited, UK) for one cycle of disease progression viz., 0, 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20 days after bacterial spray inoculation (DAI). Significant changes in gas exchange parameters were witnessed on pathogen inoculation. Higher reduction in mean percent change of photosynthetic and transpiration rate, instantaneous water use efficiency, internal CO2 content, stomatal conductance and relative water content were noticed in highly susceptible genotype than resistant one. On contrary, an increased percent mean change of intrinsic water use efficiency, carboxylation capacity and lignin was documented in resistant genotype. Relative injury caused due to bacterial infection was found high in highly susceptible genotype than resistant one. Histological investigations in highly susceptible and resistant genotype were studied on 20th day of Xap inoculation using Scanning Electron Microscopy. Highly susceptible genotype exhibited maximum deformed cells, tissues and other visible abnormalities upon Xap inoculation. Thus, this study forms a basis for effective disease management and breeding programmes in pomegranate.


Bacterial blight, Biotic stress, Carboxylation capacity, Internal CO2 content, Lignin, Photosynthetic rate, Plantpathogen interaction, Relative injury, Relative water content, Stomatal conductance, Transpiration rate, Water use efficiency

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