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Role of Cucurbitacin C in Resistance to Spider Mite (Tetranychus urticae) in Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.)

Abstract

Cucurbitacins are bitter triterpenoid compounds that are toxic to most organisms and occur widely in wild and cultivated Cucurbitaceae. The only cucurbitacin identified in Cucumis sativus is cucurbitacin C. The bitter taste of cucumber has been correlated with resistance to the spider mite Tetranychus urticae, but a quantitative relationship has not been established. We determined the spider mite resistance and cucurbitacin C content in the dihaploid progeny derived from the F1 generation of a cross between a bitter, spider-mite-resistant cucumber line and a bitter-free, spider-mite-susceptible line. The ratio of the number of bitter to bitter-free dihaploids conformed to the expected 1:1 ratio, based on a monogenic segregation pattern. Genetic analysis ascribed 69% of the variance of the difference in spider mite survival rate to the bitterness locus. Within the group of bitter dihaploids, cucurbitacin C content was significantly correlated with spider mite resistance. Thus, a quantitative relationship between cucurbitacin C content and spider mite resistance could be established.

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Correspondence to A. G. Balkema-Boomstra.

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Balkema-Boomstra, A.G., Zijlstra, S., Verstappen, F.W.A. et al. Role of Cucurbitacin C in Resistance to Spider Mite (Tetranychus urticae) in Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.). J Chem Ecol 29, 225–235 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021945101308

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021945101308

  • Cucumis sativus
  • Tetranychus urticae
  • cucumber
  • spider mite
  • bitterness
  • cucurbitacin C
  • resistance