Induced resistance in potato to Phytphthora infestans—effects of BABA in greenhouse and field tests with different potato varieties
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We have investigated to what degree induced resistance with β-aminobutyric acid (BABA) can protect potato from late blight infection under Swedish field conditions and if synergistic interactions occur if BABA is applied in combination with a commonly used fungicide, Shirlan. In greenhouse experiments we also investigated the durability of BABA induced resistance, the dose-response relationships in susceptible (Bintje) and partially resistant (Ovatio, Suberb) cultivars and effects of combined applications of BABA and fungicides. We found a clear effect of BABA on P. infestans infection of greenhouse grown potato plants. The lesion sizes were reduced by on average 40–50% compared to untreated control. However, this effect lasted for only 4–5 days after BABA treatment and then the efficacy was lower. When BABA was given in combination with the fungicides it appeared to have an additive effect both in greenhouse and field experiments. Higher concentrations of BABA gave a stronger protective effect. The partially resistant cultivars Ovatio and Superb reacted to lower concentrations of BABA where no effect was found in susceptible Bintje. According to our field data, 20–25% reduction of the fungicide dose in combination with BABA gave on average the same result on late blight development as full dose Shirlan alone; while reduced dose of Shirlan alone sometimes resulted in less effective protection. Our results indicate that induced resistance could be used in practice in combinations with fungicides in order to reduce the amount of toxic compounds under north European conditions.