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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Effects of postharvest methyl jasmonate treatments against Botrytis cinerea on Geraldton waxflower (Chamelaucium uncinatum)

J. X. Eyre A B C D , J. Faragher B , D. C. Joyce C and P. R. Franz B

A Department of Agricultural Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Vic. 3086, Australia.

B Department of Primary Industries, Knoxfield Centre, P.B. 15, Ferntree Gully, Vic. 3156, Australia.

C The Centre for Native Floriculture, School of Agronomy and Horticulture, The University of Queensland, Gatton, Qld 4343, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: j.eyre@uq.edu.au

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 46(5) 717-723 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/EA04250
Submitted: 24 November 2004  Accepted: 18 August 2005   Published: 12 May 2006

Abstract

Cut Geraldton waxflower (Chamelaucium uncinatum Schauer) flowers are often infected with Botrytis cinerea. Release of infection from quiescence can cause ethylene production by invaded host tissues and result in flower abscission. Postharvest floral organ abscission is a major problem for the commercial waxflower industry. Methyl jasmonate (MeJA) occurs naturally in plant tissue and has a signalling role in eliciting induced systemic resistance against disease. MeJA treatments have been shown to suppress B. cinerea infecting cut rose flowers. The present experiments investigated the potential of exogenous MeJA treatments for B. cinerea management on harvested waxflower. MeJA treatments of 10 and 100 µL liquid MeJA/L of air applied to cv. Purple Pride and 1 µL MeJA/L to cv. Mullering Brook gave reductions in disease severity for uninoculated stems. However, concentrations of 100 µL MeJA/L applied to Purple Pride in addition to 1 and 10 µL MeJA/L applied to Mullering Brook increased the incidence of floral organ fall. Flower abscission upon treatment with MeJA may be due to induced systemic resistance-associated upregulation of ethylene biosynthesis. MeJA treatments had no direct effect on B. cinerea hyphal elongation in vitro. Collectively, these results show that while MeJA treatment may elicit defence in waxflower against Botrytis, the chemical also causes floral organ fall. Thus, exogenous MeJA treatments do not have potential for B. cinerea management on harvested waxflower.

Additional keywords: ethylene, floral abscission, induced systemic resistance, MeJA.


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