Weese, Annekathrin; Pallmann, Philip; Papenbrock, Jutta; Riemenschneider, Anja: Brassica napus L. cultivars show a broad variability in their morphology, physiology and metabolite levels in response to sulfur limitations and to pathogen attack. In: Frontiers in Plant Science 6 (2015), 9. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2015.00009
Under adequate sulfur supply, plants accumulate sulfate in the vacuoles and use sulfur-containing metabolites as storage compounds. Under sulfur-limiting conditions, these pools of stored sulfur-compounds are depleted in order to balance the nitrogen to sulfur ratio for protein synthesis. Stress conditions like sulfur limitation and/or pathogen attack induce changes in the sulfate pool and the levels of sulfur-containing metabolites, which often depend on the ecotypes or cultivars. We are interested in investigating the influence of the genetic background of canola (Brassica napus) cultivars in sulfur-limiting conditions on the resistance against Verticillium longisporum. Therefore, four commercially available Brassica. napus cultivars were analyzed. These high-performing cultivars differ in some characteristics described in their cultivar pass, such as several agronomic traits, differences in the size of the root system, and resistance to certain pathogens, such as Phoma and Verticillium. The objectives of the study were to examine and explore the patterns of morphological, physiological and metabolic diversity in these Brassica. napus cultivars at different sulfur concentrations and in the context of plant defense. Results indicate that the root systems are influenced differently by sulfur deficiency in the cultivars. Total root dry mass and length of root hairs differ not only among the cultivars but also vary in their reaction to sulfur limitation and pathogen attack. As a sensitive indicator of stress, several parameters of photosynthetic activity determined by PAM imaging showed a broad variability among the treatments. These results were supported by thermographic analysis. Levels of sulfur-containing metabolites also showed large variations. The data were interrelated to predict the specific behavior during sulfur limitation and/or pathogen attack. Advice for farming are discussed.
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