Callus cultures were established from intraspecific lines of Allium cepa L., interspecific F1 progeny of A. cepa crossed to A. fistulosum L. and to A. galanthum L., advanced generations of A. fistulosum x A. cepa backcrossed to A. cepa, and lines of A. fistulosum and A. galanthum. These genotypes had been identified as susceptible, resistant, or partially resistant tester lines based on prior seedling and field nursery screenings using the pink-root pathogen Pyrenochaeta terrestris (Hansen) Gorenz, Walker and Larson. Tester line calli were challenged in vitro with culture filtrates of the fungal pathogen and were assessed by visible damage ratings expressed as the percentage of pigmentation in response to the filtrate. The degrees of callus sensitivity to the filtrate observed in vitro corresponded well with the in vivo tester line classifications. These results eliminated the possible confounding influence of using various species of Allium for in vitro screening. Our results indicated the suitability of the in vitro screening approach for the possible identification of useful segregants or somaclonal variants possessing pink-root resistance. However, in vivo pathogenicity may involve mechanisms in addition to sensitivity to the putative toxins present in the filtrate.
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