Resistance to infection by stealth : Brassica napus (winter oilseed rape) and Pyrenopeziza brassicae (light leaf spot)
West, Jon S.
Fitt, Bruce D.L.
Light leaf spot (Pyrenopeziza brassicae) is an important disease on winter oilseed rape crops (Brassica napus) in northern Europe. In regions where economically damaging epidemics occur, resistance to P. brassicae in commercial cultivars is generally insufficient to control the disease without the use of fungicides. Two major genes for resistance have been identified in seedling experiments, which may operate by decreasing colonisation of B. napus leaf tissues and P. brassicae sporulation. Much of the resistance present in current commercial cultivars is thought to be minor gene-mediated and, in crops, disease escape and tolerance also operate. The subtle strategy of the pathogen means that early colonisation of host tissues is asymptomatic, so a range of techniques and molecular tools is required to investigate mechanisms of resistance. Whilst resistance of new cultivars needs to be assessed in field experiments where they are exposed to populations of P. brassicae under natural conditions, such experiments provide little insight into components of resistance. Genetic components are best assessed in controlled environment experiments with single spore (genetically fixed) P. brassicae isolates. Data for cultivars used in the UK Recommended List trials over several seasons demonstrate how the efficacy of cultivar resistance can be reduced when they are deployed on a widespread scale. There is a need to improve understanding of the components of resistance to P. brassicae to guide the development of breeding and deployment strategies for sustainable management of resistance to P. brassicae in Europe