Bacterial wilt, caused by Ralstonia solanacearum, is one of the main diseases of solanaceous crops in Tropical regions, being the major limiting factor for tomato production in the North Region of Brazil. The disease has also been a constraint to tomato production under protected cultivation, which had solid expansion in the South and Southeast regions in the last decades. Although sources of resistance to bacterial wilt have been identified in S. lycopersicum germplasm, no resistant cultivars are available to growers. However, commercial rootstocks are available to protect scions against the disease, thus reducing the incompatibility associated to the use of different Solanaceae species/genera. The main objective of the present work was to evaluate the levels of resistance of a group of commercial hybrid/inbred tomato rootstocks to a diverse array of five R. solanacearum isolates (all obtained from infected tomato plants). A clear discrimination was observed among the evaluated rootstocks in relation to disease incidence. The phenotypic reaction of the tomato rootstocks was isolate-specific. The tomato hybrids 'Muralha' and 'Guardião' and the inbred line 'Hawaii 7996' (international resistance standard) were the rootstocks with best performance against the majority of the five R. solanacearum isolates, displaying significantly better resistance when compared with the hybrids 'Magnet' and 'Protetor'. However, all rootstocks were highly susceptible (100% mortality) to the R. solanacearum CNPH 488 isolate (classified as race 1 / Biovar 2, collected in Paraná State, Brazil). The same set of rootstocks was also evaluated under artificially infested soil (with less intense inoculum pressure). The hybrids 'Guardião' and 'Muralha' repeated their good performance when compared with 'Magnet' and 'Protetor'. Our results reinforce the notion that under favorable environmental conditions and/or in the presence of highly virulent strains, the system based upon tomato scion grafted onto tomato rootstock might provide unsatisfactory levels of bacterial wilt control. Therefore, complementary and preemptive control measures will be necessary in order to reduce the initial inoculum pressure in the soil.
Solanum lycopersicum; Ralstonia solanacearum; bacterial wilt resistance; grafting.