Research Matters - Grafting plants for disease resistance

Grafting is an important tool in the battle against the pests and diseases of vegetable crops, especially for members of the Cucurbitaceae (such as cucumbers and melons) and Solanaceae (such as tomatoes, eggplants and peppers) families.

The object is to join a susceptible scion to a rootstock that is either resistant to the attacking organism or that encourages resistance in the scion. The graft can be between plants of the same species or even between different species.

The review cited here examines all recent research on grafting for the control of soil-borne pest and disease organisms, as well as foliar diseases such as tomato spotted wilt and pepino mosaic virus. The main approach has been the selection and breeding of resistant rootstocks. However, in addition to selecting rootstocks for their resistance to disease, they can also be selected for their ability to encourage disease resistance in the scion.

Many resistant rootstocks also possess a vigorous root system and this probably enables them to take up more nutrients, thus boosting the growth of the scion. Roots are also the source of cytokinins, a group of naturally-occurring growth-promoting chemicals, and any increase in their production will benefit scion growth. A further indirect benefit can be gained by enhancing the uptake of silicon, for example, because silicon can enhance plant resistance to some foliar diseases.

Dr Ken Cockshull, Associate Fellow, Warwick Crop Centre, University of Warwick

Defence Mechanisms Involved in Disease Resistance of Grafted Vegetables by Guan, Zhao, Hassell and Thies (2012). HortScience 47 (2): 164-170. The author's abstract can now be seen in full at http://hortsci.ashspublications.org but ISHS members can view HortScience on the website www.ishs.org.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

Upcoming reforms to water abstraction licensing will for the first time cap the amount of water that fruit growers can take for trickle irrigation.

Getting a measure of the production labour crisis

Getting a measure of the production labour crisis

At a debate during last week's Fruit Focus trade show in Kent, senior industry figures painted a bleak picture of an increasingly difficult seasonal labour market that is already impacting on investment.

What will post-Brexit pesticides authorisation and capital support for fresh produce look like?

What will post-Brexit pesticides authorisation and capital support for fresh produce look like?

The likely impact on seasonal labour has dominated discussions of the consequences of withdrawal from the EU for UK production horticulture.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon