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Evaluating the response to Fusarium ananatum inoculation and antifungal activity of phenolic acids in pineapple

Barral B., Chillet M., Minier J., Lechaudel M., Schorr-Galindo S.. 2017. Fungal Biology, 121 (12) : p. 1045-1053.

DOI: 10.1016/j.funbio.2017.09.002

Fusarium ananatum causes fruitlet core rot (FCR) in pineapple (Ananas comosus var. comosus) when the fruit reaches maturity. Hidden symptoms make it difficult to assess the disease, regardless of its stage, and basic questions concerning the involvement of the phenolic compounds in response to infection remain unknown. A direct inoculation method of F. ananatum in pineapple fruitlets was developed to monitor the growth of black spots and the changes in phenolic acids and ascorbic acid concentration under controlled conditions. After inoculation, infection began with a flesh discolouration at the inoculation point and then spread in a darker shade to form a black spot. Coumaroyl-isocitric and caffeoyl-isocitric acids levels respectively showed a 150- and 200-fold increase in infected fruitlet when compared to healthy fruitlet. These hydroxycinnamic acids increased minimally in the adjacent fruitlet and remained stable in the other parts of the fruit. By contrast, sinapic acid and hydroxybenzoic acid isomers (HBA) decreased after F. ananatum inoculation in the infected fruitlet, whereas they remained stable in the adjacent and healthy fruitlets. Ascorbic acid decreased to zero in the infected fruitlet. The antifungal activity of phenolic compounds and ascorbic acid was evaluated against the mycelial growth of F. ananatum. p-Coumaric acid exhibited a total inhibition of the mycelial growth at 1000 µg g-1. Ferulic acid inhibited 64 % of mycelial growth at a concentration of 1000 µg g-1. Caffeoylquinic acid, sinapic acid, and ascorbic acid also showed significant antifungal activity, but to a lesser extent. Finally, coinoculation of the hydroxycinnamic acids with the pathogen restrains its development in the fruit. This is the first study to highlight the involvement of phenolic compounds in the pineapple FCR disease.

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