, Volume 26, Issue 7, pp 1579-1593

Induction of Phenolic Compounds in Two Cultivars of Cucumber by Treatment of Healthy and Powdery Mildew-infected Plants with Extracts of Reynoutria sachalinensis

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Accumulation of phenolic compounds (p-coumaric, caffeic, and ferulic acids and p-coumaric acid methyl ester) was followed in susceptible (Mustang) and tolerant (Flamingo) cucumber (Cucumis sativus) cultivars. The objective was to determine whether these compounds played a role in resistance against powdery mildew following a prophylactic treatment with Milsana (leaf extracts from the giant knot weed Reynoutria sachalinensis, polygonaceae). This treatment significantly reduced the incidence of powdery mildew in both cultivars. Phenolic compounds were extracted from leaves. In the hydrolyzed fraction containing phenolic aglycones, levels of p-coumaric, caffeic, and ferulic acids and of p-coumaric acid methyl ester increased in all treatments (with leaf extracts of R. Sachalinensis, powdery mildew, or both) except the control, one or two days after treatment. In the fraction containing free phenolics, from the tested compounds, only ferulic acid showed an increase in cv. Flamingo (tolerant), and was particularly evident following treatments. On the other hand, the amounts of hydroxycinnamic acids increased rapidly in the two cultivars following Milsana treatment, suggesting their role in disease reduction. All compounds showed antifungal activity when tetsed against common pathogens of cucumber (Botrytis cinerea, Pythium ultimum, and P. aphanidermatum), but in general methyl esters were more fungitoxic than their corresponding free acids. This study suggests that cucumber is able to release antifungal compounds that are instrumental in repressing powdery mildew infection. This response is seemingly independent from the level of genetic resistance associated with each cultivar.