Gummy stem blight incited by the fungus Didymella bryoniae is a major disease of melons worldwide. The objectives of the present study were to critically evaluate melon (Cucumis melo L.) germplasm for resistance to D. bryoniae and to characterize the genetics of resistance in the resistant accessions. Two hundred sources of germplasm (plant introduction accessions, cultivars, breeding lines, landraces, and wild relatives) were screened against a single highly virulent isolate (IS25) of D. bryoniae in a plastic tunnel. The genetics of resistance to D. bryoniae was studied in three crosses between plant introductions 157076, 420145, and 323498, resistant parents that were fairly adapted (flowering, fruiting, powdery mildew tolerance) to Nanjing conditions, and plant introductions 268227, 136170, and NSL 30032 susceptible parents, respectively. Six populations of each cross (susceptible parent, resistant parent, F1, F2, the two reciprocal backcrosses) were analyzed for their responses to D. bryoniae. Seedlings in both studies were inoculated with a spore suspension (5 × 105 spores/mL−1) of D. bryoniae at the four to six true-leaf stages and assessed for leaf and stem damage at 7, 14, and 21 d postinoculation. Results of germplasm screening indicated most germplasms reported as resistant elsewhere were confirmed resistant under our conditions. However, some plant introductions identified as highly resistant elsewhere were susceptible under our conditions, the most interesting being plant introduction 482399. This plant introduction that was considered resistant was highly susceptible in our study. We also identified other sources of resistance not reported previously, for example, JF1; a wild Cucumis from the highlands of Kenya was rated highly resistant. Analysis of segregation of F1, F2, and backcross generations of the three crosses indicated that each of the three plant introductions carry a single dominant gene for resistance to the D. bryoniae.
To select resistant germplasm resources and understand the growth and physiological responses of kiwifruit (Actinidia sp.) to drought stress, five species, Actinidia macrosperma (Acma), Actinidia longicarpa (Aclo), Actinidia deliciosa (Acde), Actinidia hemsleyana (Ache), and Actinidia valvata (Acva), were assessed under tissue culture conditions. Rootless seedlings of five species were cultured in a medium containing polyethylene glycol [PEG (formula weight 8000)] to induce drought stress (0%, 5%, 10%, 15%, and 20%). After a 30-day culture, three growth indices [fresh weight (FW), plant height (PLH), and leaf number (LN)] and six physiological indices were determined, and the drought damage index (DDI) was determined. The DDIs of five species increased, and three growth indices decreased with increasing PEG concentrations. The following changes were observed under 20% PEG treatment conditions: superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities increased significantly in Acma, Aclo, and Ache specimens; peroxidase (POX) activities remained stable in Acde, Ache, and Acva specimens; and catalase (CAT) activities increased sharply in Acma and Acva. Furthermore, the results indicated that soluble sugar (SS) content increased slightly in Acma, Aclo, Acde, and Ache but it decreased in Acva specimens. Proline (PRO) content increased significantly in Acma and Acva, and malondialdehyde (MDA) contents tended to increase under drought stress in all five species. Principal component analysis (PCA) results indicated that the order of drought tolerance in the five genotypes examined in this study under tissue culture conditions was as follows: Acma > Acva > Acde > Aclo > Ache. Therefore, we concluded that Acma and Acva are more resilient germplasm resources that represent promising kiwifruit-breeding materials. Furthermore, tolerance to drought stress in these species should be further investigated under orchard conditions.