Fusaric acid accelerates the senescence of leaf in banana when infected by Fusarium

Xian Dong, Yinfeng Xiong, Ning Ling, Qirong Shen, Shiwei Guo
World Journal of Microbiology & Biotechnology 2014, 30 (4): 1399-408
Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense (FOC) is a causal agent of vascular wilt and leaf chlorosis of banana plants. Chloroses resulting from FOC occur first in the lowest leaves of banana seedlings and gradually progress upward. To investigate the responses of different leaf positions to FOC infection, hydroponic experiments with FOC inoculation were conducted in a greenhouse. Fusarium-infected seedlings exhibited a decrease in net photosynthesis rate, stomatal conductance, and transpiration rate of all leaves. The wilting process in Fusarium-infected seedlings varied with leaf position. Measurements of the maximum photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (F(V)/F(max) and visualization with transmission electron microscopy showed a positive correlation between chloroplast impairment and severity of disease symptoms. Furthermore, results of malondialdehyde content and relative membrane conductivity measurements demonstrated that the membrane system was damaged in infected leaves. Additionally, the activities of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, peroxidase and polyphenol oxidase were increased and total soluble phenolic compounds were significantly accumulated in the leaves of infected plants. The structural and biochemical changes of infected plants was consistent with plant senescence. As the FOC was not detected in infected leaves, we proposed that the chloroplast and membrane could be damaged by fusaric acid produced by Fusarium. During the infection, fusaric acid was first accumulated in the lower leaves and water-soluble substances in the lower leaves could dramatically enhance fusaric acid production. Taken together, the senescence of infected banana plants was induced by Fusarium infection with fusaric acid production and the composition of different leaf positions largely contribute to the particular senescence process.

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