Author(s): Hijaz FM, Manthey JA, Folimonova SY, Davis CL, Jones SE,
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Abstract Huanglongbing (HLB) presumably caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) threatens the commercial U.S. citrus crop of an annual value of $3 billion. The earliest shift in metabolite profiles of leaves from greenhouse-grown sweet orange trees infected with Clas, and of healthy leaves, was characterized by HPLC-MS concurrently with PCR testing for the presence of Clas bacteria and observation of disease symptoms. Twenty, 8-month-old 'Valencia' and 'Hamlin' trees were grafted with budwood from PCR-positive HLB source trees. Five graft-inoculated trees of each variety and three control trees were sampled biweekly and analyzed by HPLC-MS and PCR. Thirteen weeks after inoculation, Clas was detected in newly growing flushes in 33\% and 55\% of the inoculated 'Hamlin' and 'Valencia' trees, respectively. Inoculated trees remained asymptomatic in the first 20 weeks, but developed symptoms 30 weeks after grafting. No significant differences in the leaf metabolite profiles were detected in Clas-infected trees 23 weeks after inoculation. However, 27 weeks after inoculation, differences in metabolite profiles between control leaves and those of Clas-infected trees were evident. Affected compounds were identified with authentic standards or structurally classified by their UV and mass spectra. Included among these compounds are flavonoid glycosides, polymethoxylated flavones, and hydroxycinnamates. Four structurally related hydroxycinnamate compounds increased more than 10-fold in leaves from 'Hamlin' and 'Valencia' sweet orange trees in response to Clas infection. Possible roles of these hydroxycinnamates as plant defense compounds against the Clas infection are discussed.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy