Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture

, Volume 91, Issue 2, pp 97-106

First online:

Chlorophyll fluorescence imaging for disease-resistance screening of sugar beet

  • Laury ChaerleAffiliated withUnit Plant Hormone Signalling and Bio-imaging, Ghent University Email author 
  • , Dik HagenbeekAffiliated withUnit Plant Hormone Signalling and Bio-imaging, Ghent University
  • , Erik De BruyneAffiliated withPhytopathology Department, SESVanderHave
  • , Dominique Van Der StraetenAffiliated withUnit Plant Hormone Signalling and Bio-imaging, Ghent University Email author 

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Both biotic and abiotic stresses cause considerable crop yield losses worldwide (Chrispeels, Sadava Plants, genes, and crop biotechnology 2003; Oerke, Dehne Crop Prot 23:275–285 2004). To speed up screening assays in stress resistance breeding, non-contact techniques such as chlorophyll fluorescence imaging can be advantageously used in the quantification of stress-inflicted damage. In comparison with visual spectrum images, chlorophyll fluorescence imaging reveals cell death with higher contrast and at earlier time-points. This technique has the potential to automatically quantify stress-inflicted damage during screening applications. From a physiological viewpoint, screening stress-responses using attached plant leaves is the ideal approach. However, leaf growth and circadian movements interfere with time-lapse monitoring of leaves, making it necessary to fix the leaves to be studied. From this viewpoint, a method to visualise the evolution of chlorophyll fluorescence from excised leaf pieces kept in closed petri dishes offers clear advantages. In this study, the plant–fungus interaction sugar beet–Cercospora beticola was assessed both in attached leaf and excised leaf strip assays. The attached leaf assay proved to be superior in revealing early, pre-visual symptoms and to better discriminate between the lines with different susceptibility to Cercospora.


Cercospora beticola Sacc. Chlorophyll fluorescence imaging Plant disease resistance quantification Plant–pathogen interaction Sugar beet Thermography