Resistance to apple scab (Venturia inaequalis) in apple cultivar breeding has been derived mainly from the Vf gene from Malus floribunda 821, which introgresses horticulturally unfavorable characters. M. sieversii, now thought to be the primary progenitor of M. × domestica, grows wild in many diverse habitats in Central Asia and can have fruit quality comparable to commercial cultivars. Since 1989, four major collections of M. sieversii have been made in Central Asia, where scab is endemic. Some seed collections have been made from trees with superior fruit, that were not infected with scab. Over a 6-year period, 3000 seedlings from 220 wild M. sieversii trees representing 10 diverse ecosystems in Kazakstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan have been inoculated with conidia of five races and two wild types of V. inaequalis. Suspensions (270,000 conidia/ml) were applied to 4- to 8-leaved seedlings, which were incubated for 48 h at 19°C with constant leaf wetness. Symptoms for three resistant reactions were assessed 2 to 4 weeks after inoculation: A = chlorosis with crinkling (Vf type reaction); B = stellate necrotic lesions (Vr type reaction), and N = large necrotic areas (uncharacterized resistant reaction). Results indicated that nearly 20% of the seedlings showed one or more of the resistant reactions. The range of resistance within seedling populations from each of the 220 single-tree sources ranged from 0% to 75%. Significant differences existed among seedlings from each of the ecosystems. Most resistance reactions appeared to be similar to those observed for Vr from “Russian seedling.” Resistant selections with superior horticultural traits may constitute a genepool for increased efficiency of breeding scab-resistant cvs. This genepool may also be useful to address the breakdown of resistance to V. inaequalis race 6.
H.S. Aldwinckle, P.L. Forsline, H.L. Gustafson and S.C. Hokanson
M.T. Momol, W.F. Lamboy, P.L. Forsline and H.S. Aldwinckle
Malus sieversii is one of the primary progenitors of the cultivated apple. Since 1989, several collecting trips have been made to central Asia by personnel of the USDA and Cornell Univ. to collect seeds of wild Malus sieversii from many diverse ecosystems. In 1992, an ex situ plot in Geneva, N.Y., was established with trees grown from seed that was collected in three different habitats in Kazakstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan in 1989. In 1995, trees grown from seed that was collected in five additional habitats in Kazakstan and Kyrgyzstan in 1993 were added to the ex situ plot. In the summers of 1995 and 1996, tips of vigorously growing shoots of 1135 seedlings from 79 different populations were inoculated by hypodermic syringe with 5 × 108 cfu/ml of Erwinia amylovora strain Ea273. Seedlings from the 1989 collection were in the fourth and fifth field-growing seasons, with some beginning to bear fruit. Seedlings from the 1993 collection were in first and second field-growing seasons. Results from both seasons indicated that individuals within each of the 79 populations of M. sieversii are resistant to fire blight (defined as ≤20% shoot length infected). Resistance differed among populations, with some populations having no resistant individuals and others having >80% of the seedlings resistant. The range of resistance is quite similar to that seen among apple cultivars from North America and Europe. In another test, some accessions from 1989 collection had sufficient bloom for inoculation in 1995 and 1996. At full bloom, blossoms on these trees were inoculated with the E. amylovora suspensions (5 × 107 cfu/ml) using a backpack sprayer. These also gave diverse resistant reactions.