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Oral: Shovel-Ready Trees: Novel Strategies for Development of Disease Resistant Woody Plants


Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy for the rapid identification of disease resistant trees
C. VILLARI (1), P. Bonello (2), R. Sniezko (3), L. Rodriguez-Saona (4) (1) The Ohio State University - University of Gerogia, U.S.A.; (2) Department of Plant Pathology, The Ohio State University, U.S.A.; (3) USDA Forest Service, U.S.A.; (4) Department of

As a consequence of the rapid expansion of international trade, we are witnessing increasing frequency of introductions of alien forest pathogens and insects into North America. Some of these introductions result in establishment of devastating, tree-killing invaders into naïve habitats. In many cases, genetic host resistance is the only solution for protecting naïve trees against invasive agents. However, the current lack of rapid phenotyping tools poses a major obstacle to the use of tree resistance. Here we present the development of a novel technique that can potentially revolutionize the efficiency and timing of selecting genetically resistant trees. Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy is a vibrational-based chemical fingerprinting technique that has been recently successfully used for the rapid identification of oaks resistant to sudden oak death prior to infection. In this study we show that FT-IR spectroscopy can be used for the rapid identification of resistant trees in other pathosystems as well, such as Port-Orford-cedar / root rot disease, and whitebark pine / white pine blister rust. For both pathosystems, we collected and analyzed plant material that had been previously characterized in terms of resistance to its specific pathogen. Using this technique, resistant and susceptible trees were properly discriminated, and mortality rates or severity of symptoms in the progenies were predicted correctly.