J. Moral, Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible (IAS), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), 14080-Córdoba, Spain;
L. F. Roca, and
C. M. Díez, Departamento de Agronomía, Universidad de Córdoba, Campus de Rabanales, Edificio Celestino Mutis, E-14014 Córdoba, Spain;
L. León and
R. de la Rosa, IFAPA Centro Alameda del Obispo, Junta de Andalucía, E-14080 Córdoba, Spain; and
L. Rallo, and
A. Trapero, Departamento de Agronomía, Universidad de Córdoba, Campus de Rabanales, Edificio Celestino Mutis, E-14014 Córdoba, Spain
The evaluation of the relative susceptibility of new cultivars to the main diseases of a crop is a key point to consider prior to their release to the nursery industry. This study provides a rigorous characterization of the resistance of 15 new olive cultivars and their genitors (‘Arbequina,’ ‘Frantoio,’ and ‘Picual’) to the three main aerial diseases, peacock spot, anthracnose, and cercosporiosis caused by Spilocaea oleagina, Colletotrichum acutatum, and Pseudocercospora cladosporioides, respectively. To do so, developing leaves and detached green-yellowish fruit were inoculated in laboratory tests with S. oleagina and C. acutatum, respectively, using conidial suspensions of both pathogens. Additionally, a previously validated rating scale was used to assess the incidence of leaves with symptoms of S. oleagina or P. cladosporioides and the fruit rot incidence of C. acutatum in the trees for four years under field conditions. As a result, only two of the cultivars were susceptible to peacock spot, most likely because these new cultivars were previously screened for resistance to the disease on previous phases of the breeding program. Conversely, the 15 cultivars were susceptible or moderately susceptible to cercosporiosis. Five of the 15 new cultivars were classified as resistant to anthracnose, with four of them descendants of ‘Frantoio’ × ‘Picual’ crosses. In addition, the cultivars resistance to C. acutatum showed a negative linear correlation with the total phenols content of olive oil. This information regarding disease reaction of the new olive cultivars is essential for nursery industry and growers.