DOI: 10.1111/ppa.13838 ISSN: 0032-0862

Rice resistance against Bipolaris oryzae infection is mediated by lower foliar potassium concentration

Leandro C. Silva, Andersom M. Einhardt, Verônica V. Brás, Lillian M. Oliveira, Joicy A. A. Chaves, Luiz F. C. C. Pinto, Fabrício A. Rodrigues
  • Horticulture
  • Plant Science
  • Genetics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


Brown spot, caused by Bipolaris oryzae, is a very important disease of rice. This study investigated the effect of potassium (K) on rice resistance to brown spot. The working hypothesis tested was that higher foliar K concentration could allow plants to respond more efficiently against fungal infection. Plants were grown in nutrient solution amended with three K rates (0.5, 1.0 and 2.5 mM) and noninoculated or inoculated with B. oryzae. The photosynthetic performance of plants, activities of defence and antioxidant enzymes and the concentrations of reactive oxygen species, phenolics and lignin were determined. Foliar K concentration was significantly higher by 38% and 91% for plants supplied with 1.0 and 2.5 mM K, respectively, compared to plants supplied with 0.5 mM K. Brown spot severity was significantly higher (≥20%) for plants supplied with 1.0 and 2.5 mM K than those supplied with 0.5 mM K (≤15%). Higher brown spot severity for plants supplied with 2.5 mM K resulted in changes in the photosynthetic apparatus, reduced chlorophyll a + b and carotenoids concentrations, and higher production of hydrogen peroxide and superoxide anion radical. In contrast, higher activities of defence and antioxidant enzymes and more production of phenolics for plants supplied with 0.5 mM K helped them to cope with B. oryzae infection more efficiently. In conclusion, rice resistance against brown spot was achieved by keeping a lower foliar K concentration linked to more active defence reactions, a robust antioxidative system and less damage to the photosynthetic apparatus.

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