European Journal of Plant Pathology

, Volume 107, Issue 1, pp 19–28

Induced Disease Resistance in Plants by Chemicals

  • Michael Oostendorp
  • Walter Kunz
  • Bob Dietrich
  • Theodor Staub


Plants can be induced locally and systemically to become more resistant to diseases through various biotic or abiotic stresses. The biological inducers include necrotizing pathogens, non- pathogens or root colonizing bacteria. Through at network of signal pathways they induce resistance spectra and marker proteins that are characteristic for the different plant species and activation systems. The best characterized signal pathway for systemically induced resistance is SAR (systemic acquired resistance) that is activated by localized infections with necrotizing pathogens. It is characterized by protection against a broad range of pathogens, by a set of induced proteins and by its dependence on salicylic acid (SA) Various chemicals have been discovered that seem to act at various points in these defense activating networks and mimic all or parts of the biological activation of resistance. Of these, only few have reached commercialization. The best- studied resistance activator is acibenzolar-5-methyl (BION). At low rates it activates resistance in many crops against a broad spectrum of diseases, including fungi, bacteria and viruses. In monocots, activated resistance by BION typically is very long lasting, while the lasting effect is less pronounced in dicots. BION is translocated systemically in plants and can take the place of SA in the natural SAR signal pathway, inducing the same spectrum of resistance and the same set of molecular markers. Probenazole (ORYZEMATE) is used mainly on rice against rice blast and bacterial leaf blight. Its mode of action is not well understood partly because biological systems of systemically induced resistance are not well defined in rice. Treated plants clearly respond faster and in a resistant manner to infections by the two pathogens. Other compounds like beta-aminobutyric acid as wdl as extracts from plants and microorganisms have also been described as resistance inducers. For most of these, neither the mode of action nor reliable pre-challenge markers are known and still other pathways for resistance activation are suspected. Resistance inducing chemicals that are able to induce broad disease resistance offer an additional option for the farmer to complement genetic disease resistance and the use of fungicides. If integrated properly in plant health management programs, they can prolong the useful life of both the resistance genes and the fungicides presently used.

acibenzolar-S-methyl BABA carpropamide induced resistance probenazole salicylic acid SAR 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Oostendorp
    • 1
  • Walter Kunz
    • 2
  • Bob Dietrich
    • 3
  • Theodor Staub
    • 4
  1. 1.Research BiologyNovartis Crop ProtectionSteinSwitzerland
  2. 2.Novartis Crop ProtectionBaselSwitzerland
  4. 4.RiehenSwitzerland

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