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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 12:44-45 (article 19) 1989

Resistance to Yellowing Disease in Muskmelon

J. Esteva, F. Nuez and M.L. Gomez-Guillamon

Departmento de Biotecnologia, Universidad Politecnica, Camino de Vera no 14 46020 Valencia, Spain (first and second authors); Estacion Experimental La Mayora. 49750 Algarrobo-Costa, Malaga, Spain (third author)

Cultivation of greenhouse muskmelon on the south east coast of Spain is being seriously affected by a yellowing disease (3). The disease is transmitted by greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum Westwood) (5). The causal agent has not been detected yet, but other whitefly transmitted diseases of cucurbits that cause similar symptoms are virus diseases (1, 2, 4, 6). All the muskmelon hybrids and cultivars grown in the area have shown high levels of susceptibility. Therefore in 1985 we initiated a program to search sources of resistance.

We have evaluated 189 accessions of Spanish landraces from 1985 to 1988. The accessions were distributed through 5 tests. These were carried out during the 1985, 1986 and 1987 seasons in Algarrobo-Costa (Malaga) and during the 1987 and 1988 seasons in El Egido (Almeria). The incidence of the yellowing disease in both localities is very high. The tests were made under natural infection conditions.

Only one accession, which belongs to 'Tendral' type and which was evaluated during 1988 in El Egido, behaved as resistant/ The observed resistance have to be confirmed under controlled inoculation conditions. The remaining accessions were notably affected. The 'Piel de Sapo' and 'Tendral' types landraces have a tendency to show susceptibility levels which are slightly lower than 'Amarillo' and 'Rochet' types.

In the season of 1986 we evaluated other muskmelon genotypes of non-Spanish origin. These were 'Nagata Kim Makuwa', 'Muchianskaja', 'Miel Blanc', 'Freeman's cucumber', 'Kafer Hakin', PI 161375, PI 157084 and PI 157080. All of them were susceptible to yellowing disease but 'Nagata Kim Makuwa'. PI 161375 and PI 157084 showed levels of symptomology lower than the Spanish landraces. The behavior of these three genotypes during the seasons of 1987 and 1988 were heterogeneous since some plants which belong to them displayed a high susceptibility whereas others were slightly affected (Table).

Also from among the plants which belong to progenies derived from the crosses between highly susceptible parents ('Galia' and 'Piel de Sapo') and 'Nagata Kim Makuwa' or PI 161375 there were always some of them slightly affected whereas the remaining ones were seriously affected.

It is important to state that all the plants of the highly susceptibility accessions (188 Spanish landraces and 6 non-Spanish genotypes) showed severe symptoms.

In the season of 1987 we started to test wild cucurbits species since we thought that the only possible thing to do was to resort to these species as sources of resistance to yellowing disease. But during the 1988 season, in Algarrobo, the majority of plants of an accession of Cucumis melo var. agrestis showed resistance under natural severe infection conditions. Only 3 of the 13 plants displayed slight symptoms of yellowing disease. If the behavior of this accession and the previously mentioned landrace were confirmed, the present prospect of muskmelon breeding for resistance to yellowing disease could be substantially changed.

Table 1. Incidence of yellowing disease in the genotypes which were slightly affected during the 1986 season.


Locality and season of test

Incidence of yellowing diseasez

Nagata Kim Mikuwa

Algarrobo 1987



El Egido 1987



Algarrobo 1988


PI 161375

Algarrobo 1987



El Egido 1987



Algarrobo 1988


PI 157084

Algarrobo 1987



El Egido 1987



Algarrobo 1988


z a/b: slightly affected plants/seriously affected plants.

Literature Cited

  1. Dorst, H.J.M. van, N. Huijberts, and L. Bos. 1983. Yellows of glasshouse vegetables, transmitted by Trialeurodes vaporariorum. Neth. J. Path. 89:171-184.
  2. Buffus, J.E. 1965. Beet pseudo-yellows virus, transmitted by the greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum). Phytopathology 55:450-453.
  3. Esteva, J., G. Nuez, and J. Cuarero. 1988. Resistance to yellowing disease in wild relatives of muskmelon. Cucurbit Genet. Coop. Rpt. 11:52-53.
  4. Soria, C., Gomez-Guillamon, M.L. 1988. Transmission of a muskmelon yellowing disease by Trialeurodes vaporariorum Westwood. Proceedings of the EUCARPIA meeting on Cucurbit Genetic and Breeding. (Avignon-Montfavet, France May 31 to June 2. 1988): 209-213.
  5. Yamashita, S., Y. Doi, K. Yora and M. Yoshino. 1979. Cucumber yellows virus: its transmission by the greenhouse whitefly, Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Westwood). and the yellow diseases of cucumber and muskmelon caused by the virus. annals Phytopath. Soci. Japan 45:484-496.
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