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Induced Resistance for Plant Disease Control: Maximizing the Efficacy of Resistance Elicitors

December 2005 , Volume 95 , Number  12
Pages  1,368 - 1,373

Dale Walters , David Walsh , Adrian Newton , and Gary Lyon

First and second authors: Crop and Soil Research Group, Scottish Agricultural College, King's Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK; and third and fourth authors: Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee, DD2 5DA, UK

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Accepted for publication 15 July 2005.

Plants can be induced to develop enhanced resistance to pathogen infection by treatment with a variety of abiotic and biotic inducers. Biotic inducers include infection by necrotizing pathogens and plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria, and treatment with nonpathogens or cell wall fragments. Abiotic inducers include chemicals which act at various points in the signaling pathways involved in disease resistance, as well as water stress, heat shock, and pH stress. Resistance induced by these agents (resistance elicitors) is broad spectrum and long lasting, but rarely provides complete control of infection, with many resistance elicitors providing between 20 and 85% disease control. There also are many reports of resistance elicitors providing no significant disease control. In the field, expression of induced resistance is likely to be influenced by the environment, genotype, and crop nutrition. Unfortunately, little information is available on the influence of these factors on expression of induced resistance. In order to maximize the efficacy of resistance elicitors, a greater understanding of these interactions is required. It also will be important to determine how induced resistance can best fit into disease control strategies because they are not, and should not be, deployed simply as “safe fungicides”. This, in turn, will require information on the interaction of resistance elicitors with crop management practices such as appropriate-dose fungicide use.

© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society