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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 510: VII Eucarpia Meeting on Cucurbit Genetics and Breeding

ARTIFICIAL INOCULATION METHODS AND SELECTION CRITERIA FOR BREEDING MELONS AGAINST VINE DECLINE

Authors:   A. Iglesias, B. Picó, F. Nuez
Keywords:   Acremonium cucurbitacearum, Cucumis melo, Monosporascus cannonballus, plant breeding, sources of resistance
Abstract:
Melon vine decline is an increasingly important disease of melons around the world. The lack of artificial inoculation methods and selection criteria makes breeding for improved resistance to melon vine decline difficult and tedious. We have developed an artificial inoculation method consisting of the inoculation of plants in pots with naturally infested soil and soil artificially infested with Acremonium cucurbitacearum and Monosporascus cannonballus, the two main causal agents of this disease. Disease symptoms in susceptible genotypes were most severe and occurred earliest in the naturally infested soil. Artificially inoculated soil also allowed for the discrimination between susceptible and resistant genotypes. The use of inoculum of known pathogenic composition is recommended in order to obtain comparable and reproducible results. Root damage due to fungal infection is a more precise indicator of resistance than vine decay, the latter being more influenced by environmental factors. This pot assay makes root analysis easier, but this would be too tedious a screening method in the field. This strategy has allowed for the confirmation of the high level of resistance of the Cucumis melo var. agrestis accession Pat 81. It is potentially useful for selecting new, highly resistant sources and for the management of breeding populations segregating for resistance to vine decline.
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