Soft fruit toolbox - Resistant and tolerant varieties

Using resistant and tolerant cultivars is an important tool of any IPM toolbox.  The James Hutton institute has been researching the use of resistant and tolerant soft fruit varieties for several pest species and diseases for over 40 years. 

  • Resistance gene (A10) discovered in raspberry and linked to the deterrence of the Large raspberry aphid (Amphorophora idaei) due to compounds in the waxy cuticle of leaves (Shepherd et al., 1999) is still used in the raspberry breeding programme.
  • More recently, there has been an increased emphasis to utilise plant physical traits that provide resistance or tolerance to a number of insect pests (Mitchell et al., 2016). Shoot traits of raspberry such as plant architecture and leaf hairs density have been shown to influence abundance and egg laying by two spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) and aphid abundance (Karley et al., 2015; Graham et al., 2014).
  • Breeding plots provide a good source of genetic material to allow comparisons between varieties and their susceptibility to pests under different growing conditions (e.g. Blueberry pests in tunnel vs. open field conditions).
  • Root size and structure is another physical trait with potential to provide resistance or tolerance to pests and diseases. In raspberry, reduced susceptibility to Phytophthora root rot has been associated with enhanced root vigour (Mitchell et al., 2018). Root vigour might also contribute to varietal differences in tolerance of vine weevil (Otiorynchus sulcatus) damage. Imaging technologies are being used to develop non-destructive high throughput phenotyping methods aiming to fast-track soft fruit breeding (Williams et al., 2018).