NMR Spectroscopy Identifies Metabolites Translocated from Powdery Mildew Resistant Rootstocks to Susceptible Watermelon Scions

Powdery mildew (PM) disease causes significant loss in watermelon. Due to the unavailability of a commercial watermelon variety that is resistant to PM, grafting susceptible cultivars on wild resistant rootstocks is being explored as a short-term management strategy to combat this disease. Nuclear magnetic resonance-based metabolic profiles of susceptible and resistant rootstocks of watermelon and their corresponding susceptible scions (Mickey Lee) were compared to screen for potential metabolites related to PM resistance using multivariate principal component analysis. Significant score plot differences between the susceptible and resistant groups were revealed through Mahalanobis distance analysis. Significantly different spectral buckets and their corresponding metabolites (including choline, fumarate, 5-hydroxyindole-3-acetate, and melatonin) have been identified quantitatively using multivariate loading plots and verified by volcano plot analyses. The data suggest that these metabolites were translocated from the powdery mildew resistant rootstocks to their corresponding powdery mildew susceptible scions and can be related to PM disease resistance.