During 1997-2002, studies on the physiological and biochemical changes due to powdery mildew attack in peach and nectarine cultivars and hybrids belonging to different classes of resistance had been performed at the Research Station for Fruit Tree Growing (RSFTG) Baneasa Bucharest, located in the southern part of Romania. The study was based on
... disease assessments in the field and on other diagnosis criteria.
The southern part of Romania has favourable ecological conditions for growing peach and nectarine but trees have been attacked by various pathogens such as Sphaerotheca pannosa (Wallr.: Fr.) Lev. var. persicae Woronichin fungus for a long time. The presence of the pathogen causes important changes in the quantity and quality of fruits and affects the metabolism of trees.
This study was focused on several physiological and biochemical parameters such as photosynthesis and respiration intensity along with catalase activity; and changes in some biochemical compounds such as free, total and linked water content, dry matter, nitrogen and protein content, tannin levels. The aim was to find possible correlation among the above parameters and the biotic stress induced by the powdery mildew fungus calculated as attack degree (AD%).
Results showed that photosynthesis diminished significantly in the case of the attacked phenotypes, the respiration was more intense in the infected cultivars and catalase proved to be less intense in the affected plants. The total water content significantly increased in contrast to the dry matter and tannin contents, which greatly reduced in the case of resistant cultivars such as 'Victoria', Vectared 7', 'KB 11-40'. The total nitrogen and protein levels showed less influence on resistance to powdery mildew on all cultivars. All genetic material found resistant to powdery mildew is currently used in peach and nectarine breeding programs in Romania.
Further studies focused on isolation and characterization of resistance genes for powdery mildew resistance will be done in the future based on data collected during several years.