Using Plant Defence Activators To Control Turfgrass Disease: Activated Resistance Against Plant Diseases

Figure 1: A diagrammatic representation of systematic acquired resistance (SAR). Image courtesy Tom Hsiang

By Tom Hsiang, PhD, Paul H. Goodwin, PhD, and Alejandra M. Cortes-Barco, M.Sc.

Activated, acquired, or induced resistance is a physiological state in which environmental, chemical, or biological stimuli increase a plant’s defences against subsequent pathogen or insect pest attack. During induced resistance, the activating agent—often called a ‘plant defence activator’—is recognized by the plant or stimulates a part of a recognition-signalling pathway. The pathway(s) eventually promote the expression of genes resulting in activation of defence mechanisms, such as production of antimicrobial proteins. The enhanced resistance is expressed locally at the site of infection, or, in some cases, systemically throughout the plant.
Two major forms of this type of activated resistance are generally described: systemic acquired resistance (SAR) (Figure 1), and induced systemic resistance (ISR) (Figure 2).

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