Hot peppers are less damaged by plant blight

February 5th, 2009 - 6:07 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 5 (IANS) A plant blight that affects many crop species worldwide, causes less damage to pepper crops of the hotter varieties rather than low heat peppers. The research team of Mohammed B. Tahboub (post-doctoral researcher), Soumaila Sanogo (plant pathologist and team leader), Paul W. Bosland (chile pepper breeder), and Leigh Murray (statistician) set out to determine whether or not the severity of Phytophthora blight would be greater in low-heat than in hot chile peppers.

The most effective means for controlling Phytophthora blight are chile pepper cultivars that are genetically resistant to the disease. Some resistant lines have been identified, but currently there are no cultivars that are resistant to the blight in all environments.

Chile pepper fruit become infected during prolonged periods of heavy rain and high humidity in flooded and poorly drained fields. Prior to this study, there had been no systematic assessment of the relationship of chile pepper heat level to chile pepper response to Phytophthora capsici.

If such a connection could be found, information might have been revealed that would assist breeding programs intended for developing disease-resistant cultivars of pepper.

Based on documented field observations in New Mexico, Arizona, and South Carolina, researchers hypothesised that peppers that produce high-heat fruits would be more resistant to Phytophthora blight than low-heat varieties, according to an Eurekalert release.

These findings were published in HortScience.

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