Activation of induced plant resistance to control pests and diseases is regaining attention in the current climate where chemical pesticides are being progressively banned. Formulations of chitosan oligomers (COS) and pectin-derived oligogalacturonides (OGA), COS-OGA, have previously been described to induce resistance against fungal diseases in different crop plants. Here, we investigated their potential and mode-of-action as preventive measures to control root-knot nematode Meloidogyne graminicola infection in rice. The results show a significant reduction in root-galling and nematode development in rice plants that were treated through foliar application with the COS-OGA formulations FytoSol® and FytoSave® 24 h before nematode inoculation. Hormone measurements, gene expression analyses, corroborated by treatments on salicylic acid (SA) and jasmonic acid (JA)-mutants indicated that the systemic COS-OGA induced defense mechanism against nematodes is not based on SA or JA activation. However, phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) gene expression in roots as well as enzymatic PAL activity in the shoots were significantly induced 24 h after foliar COS-OGA spraying in comparison with untreated plants. COS-OGA-induced systemic defense was abolished in the rice OsPAL4-mutant, demonstrating that COS-OGA-induced defense is dependent on OsPAL4 activation in rice plants.
- Plant defense elicitor