Plant and Soil

, Volume 357, Issue 1–2, pp 245–257 | Cite as

Biochar mediates systemic response of strawberry to foliar fungal pathogens

  • Yael Meller Harel
  • Yigal Elad
  • Dalia Rav-David
  • Menachem Borenstein
  • Ran Shulchani
  • Beni Lew
  • Ellen R. Graber
Regular Article


Background and Aims

Various biochars added to soil have been shown to improve plant performance. Moreover, a wood biochar was found to induce tomato and pepper plant systemic resistance to two foliar fungal pathogens. The aim of this study was to explore the ability of wood biochar and greenhouse waste biochar to induce systemic resistance in strawberry plants against Botrytis cinerea, Colletotrichum acutatum and Podosphaera apahanis, and to examine at the molecular level some of their impacts on plant defense mechanisms.


Disease development tests on plants grown on 1 or 3% biochar-amended potting mixture, and quantification of relative expression of 5 plant defense-related genes (FaPR1, Faolp2, Fra a3, Falox, and FaWRKY1) by real-time PCR were carried out.


Biochar addition to the potting medium of strawberry plants suppressed diseases caused by the three fungi, which have very different infection strategies. This suggests that biochar stimulated a range of general defense pathways, as confirmed by results of qPCR study of defense-related gene expression. Furthermore, primed-state of defense-related gene expression was observed upon infection by B. cinerea and P. aphanis.


The ability of biochar amendment to promote transcriptional changes along different plant defense pathways probably contributes to its broad spectrum capacity for disease suppression.


Biotic stress Induced systemic resistance Plant disease Priming Systemic acquired resistance Systemic resistance 



real time quantitative PCR


reverse transcription


induced resistance


induced systemic resistance


systemic acquired resistance


hypersensitive reaction


pathogenesis related proteins


salicylic acid


plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria


plant growth-promoting fungi




jasmonic acid


methyl jasmonate


biochar produced from citrus wood


biochar produced from greenhouse waste at 450°C


area under the disease progress curve


cycle threshold


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yael Meller Harel
    • 1
  • Yigal Elad
    • 1
  • Dalia Rav-David
    • 1
  • Menachem Borenstein
    • 1
  • Ran Shulchani
    • 1
  • Beni Lew
    • 2
  • Ellen R. Graber
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Plant Pathology and Weed Research, Institute of Plant Protection, The Volcani CenterAgricultural Research OrganizationBet DaganIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Growing, Production and Environmental Engineering, Institute of Agricultural Engineering, The Volcani CenterAgricultural Research OrganizationBet DaganIsrael
  3. 3.Department of Soil Chemistry, Plant Nutrition and Microbiology, Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, The Volcani CenterAgricultural Research OrganizationBet DaganIsrael

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