First and fourth authors: Laboratoire de Nématologie, CIRAD, BP 5035, 34032 Montpellier, France; second author: Laboratoire de Botanique et Phytochimie, Faculté de Pharmacie, Université de Montpellier 1, 15 Avenue G. Flahaut, 34060 Montpellier, France; and third and fifth authors: Laboratoire de Phytopathologie, ORSTOM, BP 5045, 34032 Montpellier, France
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Accepted for publication 30 July 1998.
The burrowing nematode Radopholus similis is one of the most damaging pathogens on banana plantations. The role of phenolics in plant defense responses to the nematode was histochemically and ultrastructurally investigated in susceptible and partially resistant cultivars. Histochemical observations of healthy roots revealed that high levels of lignin, flavonoids, dopamine, cafeic esters, and ferulic acids were associated with a very low rate of nematode root penetration in the resistant cultivar. The presence of lignified and suberized layers in endodermal cells contributed to limit invasion of the vascular bundle by the pathogen. After infection, flavonoids were seen to accumulate early in walls of cells close to the nematode-migrating channel in both cultivars and in all tissues of the infected resistant roots including the vascular tissues. The labeling pattern obtained with the gold-complexed laccase and with anti-pectin monoclonal antibodies showed that phenolics were distributed in a loosened pectin-rich material surrounding the nematode. This study provides indications that constitutive phenolics in banana roots are associated with the limitation of host penetration and colonization by R. similis. Accumulation of flavonoids in response to infection was detected in the vascular tissues of susceptible plants and in all root tissues in the partially resistant plants.
© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society