Fruit body rot and calyx rot caused by Alternaria alternata f. sp. mali is an important disease of apple worldwide. The disease has recently become severe in cv. Pink Lady apple in Israel to an extent that has never been reported elsewhere in the world. No alternative control measures of the disease except fungicides are known. Here, we show for the first time that DL-β-aminobutyric acid (BABA) induces resistance against Alternaria fruit rot (AFR) in apple fruits in the laboratory and in the orchard. AFR was inhibited in fruits treated with BABA of 1000 μg/mL. BABA did not inhibit spore germination or mycelial growth of the pathogen in vitro (up to 2000 μg/mL). It was most inhibitory when applied 4 days prior to inoculation of detached fruits. BABA inhibited AFR also curatively when applied at 24 h post inoculation. Five other isomers of aminobutyric acid failed to protect the fruits from rot formation. Three field trials in commercial apple orchards proved that BABA was as protective against AFR as the commercial standard fungicidal mixture of azoxystrobin and difenoconazole. This research suggests that BABA may serve as a resistance inducer in apple against AFR. It can be used as an adequate alternative to the currently used fungicides or integrated in disease management programs to reduce fungicide load and buildup of fungicide resistance.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This study was supported by research grant No. 38427 from the Ministry of Science and Technology, State of Israel.
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Alternaria alternata apple pathotype
- Alternaria mali
- Disease control
- Induced resistance
- Integrated pest-management
- Plant defense activators
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science
- Microbiology (medical)