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Screening coffee genotypes for brown eye spot resistance in Brazil


Ramos, Juliana et al. (2022), Screening coffee genotypes for brown eye spot resistance in Brazil, Dryad, Dataset,


Several researchers have attempted to develop coffee plants that are resistant to brown eye spot (BES); however, no coffee cultivars are resistant to the disease. In the present study, a blend of strains from Cercospora coffeicola was inoculated into 19 Brazilian commercial cultivars and 41 accessions from the Germplasm Collection of Minas Gerais to evaluate the genetic resistance ability within the population and select superior genotypes for the breeding program. After predicting the genotypic values of the studied material, the evaluations number necessary for selecting genotypes with accuracy and efficiency was determined based on the data of severity to BES. The action of defense mechanisms plant was also investigated by assessing the levels of total soluble phenolic compounds and soluble lignin in contrasting genotypes for disease susceptibility. Based on the results, the accession MG 1207 Sumatra, had an intrinsic genetic capacity to maintain low levels of severity to BES.  The genotype MG 1207 Sumatra can substantially contribute to the development of new cultivars, which may lead to the reduced use of pesticides. According to the accuracy and efficiency results obtained, four evaluations BES severity are sufficient to achieve accuracy, providing expressive genetic gains. Finally, the levels of lignin and phenolic compounds were not found to be associated with the resistance of coffee genotypes to BES.


BES severity

The experiment was carried out under greenhouse conditions at the Department of Phytopathology of the Universidade Federal de Lavras - UFLA, Brazil. Coffee seedlings of 19 commercial cultivars and 41 accessions from the Germplasm collection of the Agricultural Research Corporation of the State of Minas Gerais (EPAMIG) in Patrocínio, MG, were evaluated to determine their resistance to BES (Table S1). The accessions were selected according to their characteristics of yield, drink quality, and/or resistance to other diseases of economic importance.

Seeds were sown in 5 L plastic trays containing autoclaved sand. The germination chamber was adjusted to 30 ° C and 80% relative humidity. The seedlings were transplanted into punched-black polyethylene pots (0.11 x 0.20 m) at the phase of cotyledons. The substrate consisted of 300 L of cattle manure and 700 L of soil mix extracted from the 0.4 to 0.8 m layer of Dystrophic Red Latosol and fertilized with 5 kg of simple superphosphate and 500 g of potassium chloride.

The seedlings were inoculated at the stage of three pairs of true leaves. The inoculum consisted of a blend of different isolates of C. coffeicola obtained from coffee leaves with symptoms of BES collected in the municipalities of Marechal Floriano (ES), Cachoeirinha, Ervália, Lavras, and Patrocínio (MG). Different isolates were employed to include a higher variability of the fungus [6, 11].

The sporulation of the isolates was performed as described by Souza et al. [14], with adaptations. Eight mycelial discs (6 mm in diameter) were removed from the colony borders (on day 15 of growth) of different isolates of C. coffeicola. Discs were macerated in 400 µL of sterile distilled water. The macerated mycelium from each isolate was placed in Erlenmeyer flasks containing 20 mL of liquid V8 culture medium (100 mL of V8 in 900mL of distilled water) under shaking at 100 rpm for 12 d at room temperature. The liquid containing the mycelium was transferred to plates containing a water-agar medium. The plates were kept in a BOD incubator (Bio-Oxygen Demand), with a photoperiod of 12 h at 25 °C. After culture medium dehydration (approximately 5 days of incubation), 10 mL of sterile water was added to each plate and the conidia were removed with a Drigalski spatula. The suspension was filtered with sterile gauze to remove residues and the conidia were subsequently quantified in a Neubauer chamber. The suspension used for inoculation was adjusted to 5 x 104 conidia·mL-1 and sprayed on the abaxial side of the leaves of all seedlings using a manual sprayer. Thereafter, the seedlings were placed in a humid chamber for 72 h.

Temperature and relative humidity data were collected over the experimental period with a Datalogger HT-500, Instrutherm®. Weekly assessments of disease severity were performed on the first two pairs of true leaves throughout the five weeks, starting from the onset of symptoms (approximately 15 d after inoculation). The severity of BES in different coffee genotypes was quantified using a diagrammatic scale with six classes of the proportion in the infected area by BES [15]: class 1: 0.1-3.0%; class 2: 3.1-6.0%; class 3: 6.1-12.0%; class 4: 12.1-18.0%, class 5: 18.01-30.0%, and class 6: 30.1-50.0%. The experiment was repeated twice. The distribution of the phenotypic segregation was evaluated in each genotype within the six classes described. Based on this assessment, the resistance level was determined: class 1- resistant (R); class 2- partially resistant (PR); class 3- moderately susceptible (MS); class 4- susceptible (S); classes 5 and 6- highly susceptible (AS).

The severity dates were used to calculated the area under disease progress curve (AUDPC), as previously proposed by Shaner and Finney [16].


AUDPC= i=1n-1si+si+12ti+1-ti                                (1)


where AUDPC is area under the disease progress curve; Si is disease severity in the time of evaluation, and it is the time of evaluation i.


Total soluble phenolic compounds and soluble lignin

Both total soluble phenolic compounds and soluble lignin levels were quantified in the leaves of MG 1207 accession (presenting low disease severity in the present study) and MG 0291 and Catuaí Vermelho IAC 144 genotypes (presenting high disease severity). The Catuaí Vermelho IAC 144 genotype was used as a control of susceptibility, according to Patricio et al. [10] and Botelho et al. [11].

The samples consisted of 2nd and 3rd pairs of fully expanded leaves, collected at 24, 120, 240, 480, and 720 h after inoculation (hai) of C. coffeicola. Samples of non-inoculated plants with the pathogen were also collected at 24 and 720 h to confirm that the inoculation influences the levels of total soluble phenolic compounds and soluble lignin. After collection, the samples were immediately stored in liquid nitrogen and keep an ultra-freezer until sample processing.

The macerated samples were lyophilized and approximately 30 mg of the material was homogenized in 80% methanol. The solution was centrifuged at room temperature for 5 min at 14000 rpm. The supernatant and the precipitate were used to quantify total soluble phenolic compounds and soluble lignin, respectively.

The levels of total soluble phenolic compounds were determined as described by Spanos and Wrolstad [17], with modifications. The supernatant was homogenized with 0.25 N Folin-Ciocalteau reagent, 1 M Na2CO3, and distilled water. The reaction was standardized in 200 μL and quantified using a spectrophotometer at 725 nm. Based on the standard curve of chlorogenic acid, the levels of total soluble phenolic compounds were calculated.

Lignin was quantified as proposed by Doster and Bostock [18]. The precipitate was homogenized in 80% methanol and centrifuged as described for phenolic compounds. The contents were evaporated in an oven at 45 °C overnight and mixed with thioglycolic acid and 2 M HCl (ratio 1:10) in a water bath at 100 °C for 4 h. After centrifugation and solubilization in 0.5 M NaOH, the supernatant was homogenized with HCl P.A., and kept at 4 °C for 4 h before centrifugation. The precipitate was homogenized in 0.5 M NaOH. A 200-μL aliquot of this solution was used for the reaction, and the absorbance was assessed in a Power Wave XS microplate spectrophotometer (Biotek®) at 280 nm. Based on a standard curve of lignin, the soluble lignin content was subsequently estimated. The quantification of total soluble phenolic compounds and soluble lignin contents was performed in triplicate.


Statistical analysis

The experiment BES severity were conducted in a randomized complete block design, with 60 treatments (genotypes), eight replicates, and five evaluations. The experimental plot comprised two coffee plants. A mixed model analysis was accomplished using the Selegen REML/BLUP software [19]. The following equation was used: 

Y= Xm + Zg+Tp +e

where y is the data vector; m is scalar referring to the general average of fixed effect; g is the vector of random genetic effects; p is the vector of the random-effects of blocks within replications and experiment; and e is the vector of random errors. X, Z, and T are incidence matrices of referred effects. The variance components were subjected to the likelihood ratio test at 5% probability.

The experiment of quantification of total soluble phenolic compounds and soluble lignin in coffee genotypes, were conducted in a randomized complete block design with three replicates and two plants per plot. Analysis of variance was conducted in a 3 x 5 factorial scheme, with three evaluated genotypes and five collection times (24, 120, 240, 480, and 720 h) after inoculation (hai) of C. coffeicola. The data were subjected to analysis of variance and the means were compared by Tukey’s test at 5% probability.


National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development- CNPq

Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais

Brazilian Consortium Coffee Research and Development

National Institute of Coffee Science and Technology (INCT Café/CNPq)