Bacterial wilt caused by Ralstonia solanacerum is one of the most economically and destructive eggplant diseases in many tropical and subtropical areas of the world. The objectives of this study were to develop interspecific hybrids, as potential rootstocks, between the eggplant (Solanum melongena) bacterial wilt resistant line EG203 and four wild accessions (S. incanum UPV1, S. insanum UPV2, S.anguivi UPV3, and S. sisymbriifolium UPV4), and to evaluate interspecific hybrids along with parents for resistance to bacterial wilt strains Pss97 and Pss2016. EG203 was crossed successfully with wild accessions UPV2 and UPV3 and produced viable seeds that germinated when wild accessions were used as a maternal parent in the crosses. In addition, viable interspecific hybrids between EG203 and UPV1 were obtained in both directions of the hybridization, although embryo rescue had to be used. Hybridity was confirmed in the four developed interspecific hybrid combinations with three SSR markers. EG203 was resistant to both strains Pss97 and Pss2016, while UPV1 and UPV3 were, respectively, resistant and moderately resistant to Pss2016. The four interspecific hybrids with UPV2, UPV3, and UPV1 were susceptible to both bacterial wilt strains, indicating that the resistance of EG203, UPV1, and UPV3 behaves as recessive in interspecific crosses. However, given the vigor of interspecific hybrids between eggplant and the three cultivated wild species, these hybrids may be of interest as rootstocks. However, the development of interspecific hybrid rootstocks resistant to bacterial wilt will probably require the identification of new sources of dominant resistance to this pathogen in the eggplant wild relatives.
Keywords: SSR markers; Solanum melongena; biotic stress; disease resistance; embryo rescue; wild accessions.