In recent years, exploration of biopolymer-based materials to avoid hazardous chemicals in agriculture has gained enormous importance for sustainable crop improvement. In the present study, chitosan a biopolymer derived from crab-shell was used in different concentrations as priming agent to cucumber seeds and were evaluated for its effect to enhance plant growth parameters as well as its ability to induce resistance against powdery mildew disease. Among the treatments, seeds-primed with 2.5 mg/mL exhibited early seedling germination of 90% and vigour of 2665 and also remarkably enhanced the cucumber growth parameters which might be fairly attributed to the stimulation of phytohormones content in primed plants over the controls. More importantly, under greenhouse conditions a significant induced disease protection of 66.6% against powdery mildew disease was noticed in chitosan-pretreated plants at 2.5 mg/mL. The induced resistant plants also showed a significant deposition of lignin, callose and H2O2. Notably, polyphenol oxidase, phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, peroxidase and glucanase defense-responsive enzymes were upregulated in chitosan-primed plants. Considered together, these results determine that the susceptible cucumber cultivar elicits immunity after perception of priming with chitosan to upregulate phytohormones and synthesize defense-responsive enzymes, thereby induce resistance against powdery mildew disease and strengthen the growth-promotion of cucumber plants.
Keywords: Chitosan priming; Cucumber disease resistance; Defense enzyme.
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