Late blight, caused by the oomycete Phytophthora infestans, causes serious losses in tomato production worldwide. Application of fungicides is the primary means of management but cultivar resistance, primarily through Ph resistance genes from Solanum pimpinellifolium, can provide a cost-effective and environmentally sound approach to an overall disease management program. Due to highly adaptable pathogen populations, cultivar resistance against late blight is often short lived and continual assessment of disease response to new pathogen types is necessary. We evaluated the disease response of 11 tomato cultivars to one isolate from each of three clonal lineages (US-22, US-23, and US-24) of P. infestans novel to the United States to determine the efficacy of currently deployed Ph genes in hybrid cultivars and the validity of claims of resistance in heirloom cultivars. Lesion length and pathogen growth were reduced on tomato genotypes ‘Plum Regal’ (Ph-3) and ‘Legend’ (Ph-2) compared with the susceptible control ‘Brandywine Red’ following inoculation with one isolate (US-23) but were not significantly different from the control with an isolate of US-22. ‘Mountain Magic’ (Ph-2 and Ph-3) and three heirloom cultivars (‘Wapsipinicon Peach’, ‘Matt's Wild Cherry,’ and ‘Pruden's Purple’) had reduced lesion length and pathogen growth to all three isolates. Although the genetics of resistance are not fully understood for many of these, the heirloom cultivars may be useful for future tomato late blight breeding efforts. All of the cultivars investigated in this work are currently available and use of cultivars exhibiting reduced disease development may limit losses to late blight and reduce reliance on fungicides. Resistant cultivars also limit the production of inoculum, reducing overall late blight risk and spread in tomato and potato crops.
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