Postharvest dark skin spots in potato tubers are an oversuberization response to rhizoctonia solani infection

Yossi Buskila, Leah Tsror, Michal Sharon, Paula Teper-Bamnolker, Orly Holczer-Erlich, Shimon Warshavsky, Idit Ginzberg, Saul Burdman, Dani Eshel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Israeli farmers export 250,000 tons of potato tubers annually, ̃40,000 tons of which are harvested early, before skin set. In recent years, there has been an increase in the occurrence of dark skin spots on earlyharvested potato tubers ('Nicola') packed in large bags containing peat to retain moisture. The irregular necrotic spots form during storage and overseas transport. Characterization of the conditions required for symptom development indicated that bag temperature after packing is 11 to 13°C and it reaches the target temperature (8°C) only 25 days postharvest. This slow decrease in temperature may promote the establishment of pathogen infection. Isolates from typical lesions were identified as Rhizoctonia spp., and Koch's postulates were completed with 25 isolates by artificial inoculation performed at 13 to 14°C. Phylogenetic analysis, using the internal transcribed spacer sequences (ITS1 and ITS2) of rDNA genes, assigned three isolates to anastomosis group 3 of Rhizoctonia solani. Inoculation of wounded tubers with mycelium of these R. solani isolates resulted in an oversuberization response in the infected area. With isolate Rh17 of R. solani, expression of the suberin biosynthesis-related genes StKCS6 and CYP86A33 increased 6.8- and 3.4-fold, respectively, 24 h postinoculation, followed by a 2.9-fold increase in POP-A, a gene associated with wound-induced suberization, expression 48 h postinoculation, compared with the noninoculated tubers. We suggest that postharvest dark spot disease is an oversuberization response to R. solani of AG-3 infection that occurs prior to tuber skin set.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)436-444
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


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