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Evidence for Oxidative Stress Involved in Physiological Leaf Spot Formation in Winter and Spring Barley

February 2002 , Volume 92 , Number  2
Pages  145 - 155

Yue-Xuan Wu and Andreas von Tiedemann

Department of Phytomedicine, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Rostock, Satower Strasse 48, 18051 Rostock, Germany

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Accepted for publication 19 October 2001.

A leaf spot disease with unknown etiology has become more pronounced in spring and winter barley in Germany in recent years. The symptoms are similar to net blotch and Ramularia leaf spots, but the causal agents of these diseases are not identified. The symptom expression varied much on cultivars. Cultivars most affected by the disease of both spring and winter barley showed a significantly higher level of superoxide (O2¯) production and lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde), but a lower level of antioxidant potential expressed as superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, catalase activity, and integral water-soluble antioxidant capacity (ACW) than insensitive cultivars. A high positive correlation between O2¯ production and leaf spot development between ear emergence and milk ripeness was established in the most sensitive winter barley cv. Anoa (r2 = 0.9622) and spring barley cv. Barke (r2 = 0.9434). Leaf H2O2 levels increased with the severity of leaf spots. The histochemical localization of O2¯ and H2O2 in the tissues adjacent to leaf spots indicated that these two active oxygen species (AOS) are involved in the formation of leaf spots. Reduction of symptom severity by applying strobilurin and azole fungicides was always associated with elevated SOD activity and ACW content and suppressed O2¯ production. However, peroxidase activities were significantly higher in sensitive cultivars and in more severely affected tissues and decreased by applying fungicides. Thus, it is assumed that a possible genetic mechanism based on the imbalanced AOS metabolism contributes to formation of physiological leaf spots.

Additional keywords: antioxidant enzymes, nonparasitic leaf necrosis.

© 2002 The American Phytopathological Society