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Zebra Chip Disease and Potato Biochemistry: Tuber Physiological Changes in Response to ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ Infection Over Time

    Authors and Affiliations
    • A. Rashed
    • C. M. Wallis
    • L. Paetzold
    • F. Workneh
    • C. M. Rush

      Published Online:

      Zebra chip disease, putatively caused by the bacterium ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’, is of increasing concern to potato production in Mexico, the United States, and New Zealand. However, little is known about the etiology of this disease and changes that occur within host tubers that result in its symptoms. Previous studies found that increased levels of phenolics, amino acids, defense proteins, and carbohydrates in ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’-infected tubers are associated with symptoms of zebra chip. This study was conducted to quantify variations in levels of these biochemical components in relation to the time of infestation, symptom severity, and ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ titer. Levels of phenolics, peroxidases, polyphenol oxidases, and reducing sugars (glucose and, to some extent, fructose) changed during infection, with higher levels occurring in tubers infected at least 5 weeks before harvest than in those infected only a week before harvest and those of controls. Compared with the apical tuber ends, greater levels of phenolics, peroxidases, and sucrose occurred at the basal (stolon attachment) end of infected tubers. With the exception of phenolics, concentrations of the evaluated compounds were not associated with ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ titer. However, there were significant associations between biochemical responses and symptom severity. The lack of a linear correlation between most plant biochemical responses and ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ titer suggests that shifts in metabolic profiles are independent of variations in ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ levels.