European Journal of Plant Pathology

, Volume 145, Issue 4, pp 777–785 | Cite as

Correlation of Phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) and Tyrosine ammonia lyase (TAL) activities to phenolics and curcuminoid content in ginger and its wild congener, Zingiber zerumbet following Pythium myriotylum infection

  • G. Ganapathy
  • D. Keerthi
  • R. Aswati Nair
  • Padmesh Pillai


The biochemical basis of resistance exhibited by a wild Zingiber species, Zingiber zerumbet (L.) Smith, towards the economically devastating soft-rot disease caused by necrotrophic Pythium myriotylum was investigated. Quantification of phenolic compounds revealed higher total phenolic (TP), total flavonoid (TF) and total tannin (TT) content in the uninfected susceptible ginger (Z. officinale) cultivar compared to the resistant taxon. However systemic induction in activities of rate-limiting enzymes of phenolic biosynthetic pathway, phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) and tyrosine ammonia lyase (TAL), were observed in the resistant wild taxon. In the ginger cultivar, even though the inherent PAL specific activity was observed to be higher (24.2 ± 1.9 U mg−1) compared to the wild taxon (4.2 ± 0.8 U mg−1), a subsequent gradual decrease in both PAL and TAL activities were observed following infection of rhizomes with P. myriotylum. This was in contrast to the gradual increase in PAL (13.1 ± 0.8 U mg−1) and TAL (442.5 ± 35.1 U mg−1) specific activity after 5 days post infection (dpi) in the wild taxon. Subsequent HPLC analysis of rhizomes showed an increase in total curcuminoid content in the wild taxon compared to the ginger cultivar. Results are indicative of phenylpropanoid pathway regulation in a manner such that the induced defense metabolites contribute to restrict pathogen invasion in the resistant wild taxon.


Total phenolics Pythium Zingiber zerumbet PAL, TAL, Curcuminoid 



RAN acknowledges Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India for the financial assistance. PP acknowledges Director, JNTBGRI for providing research facilities. GG and DK are thankful to MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource and Development, Govt. of India) for research fellowship received.

Compliance with ethical standards

We hereby certify that the communicated manuscript is not submitted to any other journal for simultaneous consideration, nor been published previously (partly or in full). Furthermore, authors declare that they have no conflict of interest concerning this article. The investigations reported in the present manuscript do not involve any clinical studies engaging human participants or animals.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Planteziektenkundige Vereniging 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Ganapathy
    • 1
  • D. Keerthi
    • 1
  • R. Aswati Nair
    • 1
  • Padmesh Pillai
    • 2
  1. 1.School of BiotechnologyNational Institute of Technology CalicutCalicutIndia
  2. 2.Biotechnology and Bioinformatics DivisionJawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research InstituteThiruvanathapuramIndia

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