Role of cell wall and cell membrane integrity in imparting defense response against Phytophthora capsici in black pepper (Piper nigrum L.)

  • V. V. Vandana
  • R. Suseela BhaiEmail author
  • R. Ramakrishnan Nair
  • Shamina Azeez


The structural defense response of a black pepper line (04-P24) showing root resistance to Phytophthora capsici was studied in comparison with a highly susceptible line (Sreekara). Role of cell wall reinforcement and cell membrane integrity was analyzed. Cell membrane integrity was studied under hydroponic system in terms of leakage of electrolytes caused by the cell membrane damage due to pathogen entry. Root cell membrane rupture and resultant phenolic leakage were clearly visible in the form of color change of the liquid phase during the course of infection. Root leachates of Sreekara turned highly dark due to the increased level of phenol leakage which was proportional to the cell membrane damage. The root leachate was analyzed for change in conductivity, total phenols and ortho-dihydroxy (OD) phenols. Cell wall reinforcement of the vascular tissues of black pepper root upon pathogen inoculation was analyzed histochemically. Toluidine blue O and Maule staining differentiated the intensity of lignin deposition in the root cells of both lines and it was comparatively stronger in the resistant line. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that hyphae of P. capsici are not penetrating the root of 04-P24 supporting the finding that roots of this line don’t support Phytophthora infection.


Black pepper Cell membrane Cell wall Conductivity Lignin Phenols Phytophthora capsici 



This research was funded by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE), Council Order No. (T)364/FSHP/2010/CSTE, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. Authors acknowledge Director, ICAR-IISR, Kozhikode, Kerala, India for facilities provided. The authors gratefully acknowledge the Director, National Institute of Technology, Kozhikode for providing the SEM facility.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical statement

This research article is not submitted elsewhere for publication and this manuscript complies to the Ethical Rules applicable for this journal.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Planteziektenkundige Vereniging 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. V. Vandana
    • 1
  • R. Suseela Bhai
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • R. Ramakrishnan Nair
    • 1
  • Shamina Azeez
    • 3
  1. 1.ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices ResearchKozhikodeIndia
  2. 2.Division of Crop ProtectionICAR-Indian Institute of Spices ResearchKozhikodeIndia
  3. 3.ICAR- Indian Institute of Horticultural ResearchKozhikodeIndia

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