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Phytopathology. 2002 Jan;92(1):59-64. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO.2002.92.1.59.

Benzothiadiazole Activates Resistance in Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) to the Root-Parasitic Weed Orobanche cuman.


The study was conducted to evaluate the potential of induced resistance to infestation of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) by the parasitic weed Orobanche cumana Wallr. Treatment of sunflower seeds with 40 ppm of benzo(1,2,3)thiadiazole-7-carbothioic acid S-methyl ester (BTH) for 36 h completely prevented infection in root chambers. In pot studies using 2.86 x 10(-4) g of Orobanche seeds per gram of soil as inoculum, the total number of O. cumana shoots was reduced by 84 and 95% in the 60-ppm BTH treatment in the first and second trial, respectively. Evaluation of the disease incidences revealed that attachment of O. cumana at the sunflower root and the stage of early penetration was reduced in the BTH-treated plants. Chemical analysis of root extracts revealed synthesis of the phytoalexin scopoletin and of hydrogen peroxide in the BTH-treated sunflower roots, but no increase in lignification. Western blot analysis demonstrated accumulation of the pathogenesis-related protein chitinase in roots and stems of induced resistant plants. These results show that the phenomenon of induced resistance is not restricted to viral, bacterial, and fungal disease and demonstrate the great potential of this protection strategy as an effective component of future plant production systems.

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