Soybean Seed Sugars: A Role in the Mechanism of Resistance to Charcoal Rot and Potential Use as Biomarkers in Selection

Nacer Bellaloui, Alemu Mengistu, James R. Smith, Hamed K. Abbas, Cesare Accinelli, W. Thomas Shier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Charcoal rot, caused by Macrophomina phaseolina, is a major soybean disease resulting in significant yield loss and poor seed quality. Currently, no resistant soybean cultivar is available in the market and resistance mechanisms to charcoal rot are unknown, although the disease is believed to infect plants from infected soil through the roots by unknown toxin-mediated mechanisms. The objective of this research was to investigate the association between seed sugars (sucrose, raffinose, stachyose, glucose, and fructose) and their role as biomarkers in the soybean defense mechanism in the moderately resistant (MR) and susceptible (S) genotypes to charcoal rot. Seven MR and six S genotypes were grown under irrigated (IR) and non-irrigated (NIR) conditions. A two-year field experiment was conducted in 2012 and 2013 at Jackson, TN, USA. The main findings in this research were that MR genotypes generally had the ability to maintain higher seed levels of sucrose, glucose, and fructose than did S genotypes. Conversely, susceptible genotypes showed a higher level of stachyose and lower levels of sucrose, glucose, and fructose. This was observed in 6 out of 7 MR genotypes and in 4 out of 6 S genotypes in 2012; and in 5 out of 7 MR genotypes and in 5 out of 6 S genotypes in 2013. The response of S genotypes with higher levels of stachyose and lower sucrose, glucose, and fructose, compared with those of MR genotypes, may indicate the possible role of these sugars in a defense mechanism against charcoal rot. It also indicates that nutrient pathways in MR genotypes allowed for a higher influx of nutritious sugars (sucrose, glucose, and fructose) than did S genotypes, suggesting these sugars as potential biomarkers for selecting MR soybean plants after harvest. This research provides new knowledge on seed sugars and helps in understanding the impact of charcoal rot on seed sugars in moderately resistant and susceptible genotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number392
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The technical support provided by S. Mosley, J. Deffenbaugh, S. Wallace, A. Wilsey, and C. Street is appreciated. This work is funded by the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service Projects 6066-21220-014-00D and 6066-21000-013-00D. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The findings and conclusions in this publication are those of the authors and should not be construed to represent any official USDA or U.S. Government determination or policy. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • charcoal rot
  • disease resistance
  • seed composition
  • seed nutrition
  • seed quality
  • seed sugars
  • soybean seed

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'Soybean Seed Sugars: A Role in the Mechanism of Resistance to Charcoal Rot and Potential Use as Biomarkers in Selection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this