Evaluation of powdery mildew resistance in various melon (Cucumis melo L.) genotypes

Zh. Ivanova*, K. Vasileva, N. Velkov, S. Grozeva

Maritsa Vegetable Crops Research Institute, 32 Brezovsko Shosse Str., 4003 Plovdiv, Bulgaria (Manuscript received 21 August 2018; accepted for publication 14 October 2018)

Abstract. Powdery mildew, caused by Podosphaera xanthii and Golovinomyces cichoracearum, is an economically important disease in melon worldwide. Genetic resistance is one of the most suitable strategies to control powdery mildew. During the last few years several races of the pathogens have been reported. The need to develop resistant varieties is a challenge for each breeding program. Leaf disc assay was used in phytopathology and breeding programs as a rapid and reliable method for evaluation of disease resistance in a large number of plant materials. The purpose of this study was to establish species and races of powdery mildew in Plovdiv region, South Central Bulgaria; to develop a suitable system of pathogen isolation and cultivation; to determine the resistance levels in different melon genotypes available in Maritsa Vegetable Crops Research Institute (MVCRI) – Plovdiv collection by the leaf disc assay. Fifty-three melon genotypes, including lines, varieties, hybrids and ten differential lines were tested. The data showed that causal agent of powdery mildew was race 1 of P. xanthii in Plovdiv region. Our experimental results indicated that for the long-term storage of powdery mildew it is preferable to keep a whole plant under in vitro conditions. This allows the preservation of powdery mildew for two months before transferring on a new tissue. Thirty-four of the tested melon genotypes reacted as immune or resistant and nineteen as susceptible. Resistant melon genotypes are a suitable source in initiating a new breeding program aimed to increase resistance to powdery mildew.