Phenolics, flavonoids and antioxidant capacities in Citrus species with different degree of tolerance to Huanglongbing
Manthey, John A.
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Huanglongbing (HLB) is a highly destructive disease to the citrus industry in Florida caused by the bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus(CLas) and is transmitted by Diaphorina citri. It is hypothesized that plants with high phenolic contents show higher tolerance to certain plant pathogens. In this regard, different citrus varieties and plants of genera related to Citrus were analyzed for their total phenolic and flavonoids contents, and their antioxidant capacities. In addition, the secondary metabolites in the leaves of seven citrus species were analyzed using high performance liquid chromatographymass spectrometry (HPLC-MS). Colorimetric assays showed that curry leaf contained the highest total phenolic content and free radical scavenging activity (DPPH). Curry leaf also contained high concentrations of an unusual class of carbazole alkaloids. Tolerant Citrus species contained high levels of phenolics and flavonoids and showed high antioxidant capacities. Our results suggest that high phenolic and flavonoid leaf contents correlate with increased citrus tolerance to CLas bacterium. The results also suggest that the high level of carbazole alkaloids, known for their strong antimicrobial properties in curry leaf, could make it immune to the CLas bacteria. Understanding the mechanisms underpinning citrus tolerance to HLB will contribute to the development of commercially tolerant citrus cultivars.