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Application of Image Analysis in Studies of Quantitative Disease Resistance, Exemplified Using Common Bacterial Blight–Common Bean Pathosystem

April 2012 , Volume 102 , Number  4
Pages  434 - 442

Weilong Xie, Kangfu Yu, K. Peter Pauls, and Alireza Navabi

All authors: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada/University of Guelph Bean Breeding Program, c/o Department of Plant Agriculture, Crop Science Building, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada; first, third, and fourth authors: Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Canada; and first, second, and fourth authors: Greenhouse and Processing Crops Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2585 County Road 20, Harrow, ON, N0R 1G0, Canada.

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Accepted for publication 21 December 2011.

The effectiveness of image analysis (IA) compared with an ordinal visual scale, for quantitative measurement of disease severity, its application in quantitative genetic studies, and its effect on the estimates of genetic parameters were investigated. Studies were performed using eight backcross-derived families of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) (n = 172) segregating for the molecular marker SU91, known to be associated with a quantitative trait locus (QTL) for resistance to common bacterial blight (CBB), caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. phaseoli and X. fuscans subsp. fuscans. Even though both IA and visual assessments were highly repeatable, IA was more sensitive in detecting quantitative differences between bean genotypes. The CBB phenotypic difference between the two SU91 genotypic groups was consistently more than fivefold for IA assessments but generally only two- to threefold for visual assessments. Results suggest that the visual assessment results in overestimation of the effect of QTL in genetic studies. This may have been caused by lack of additivity and uneven intervals of the visual scale. Although visual assessment of disease severity is a useful tool for general selection in breeding programs, assessments using IA may be more suitable for phenotypic evaluations in quantitative genetic studies involving CBB resistance as well as other foliar diseases.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society