Cassava brown streak disease effects on leaf metabolites and pigment accumulation
Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) is a threat to productivity and product quality in East Africa. The objective of this study was to understand the effect of CBSD on the primary photosynthetic apparatus of cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz). Three cassava varieties with varying levels of reaction to infection by CBSD were chosen and subjected to field disease pressure. Disease progression and the resulting effects on leaf morphology, metabolite and pigment accumulation were assessed over a period of five months, beginning from 3 months after planting. Slight increments in leaf dry matter were observed up to 4 MAP, and there after a drop was registered. A significant (P<0.05) reduction in photosynthetic pigments occured with a fall in the Chla:Chlb and Chla:Carotenoid ratio, indicative of specific reductions in chlorophyll a (-80%) compared to Chlorophyll b (-41 to -62%) and Carotenoid (-11 to -18%). Total reducing sugar and starch content also dropped significantly (-30 and -60%, respectively), much as NASE 14 maintained a relatively higher amount of carbohydrates. Leaf protein levels were significantly reduced at a rate of 0.07 ug g-1 leaf per month in diseased treatments. Significant reductions in primary metabolites show altered leaf photosynthetic and growth metabolism, resulting into a compromised plant system that cannot perform optimally.
Keywords: Carotenoid, leaf metabolites, photosynthesis, protein