D-pinitol is an effective agent for controlling powdery mildew (Podosphaera xanthii) in cucumber. In this study, we determined the mechanisms of D-pinitol in controlling powdery mildew in cucumber plants. We compared P. xanthii development on cucumber leaf surface treated with D-pinitol or water (2 mg ml−1) at different time points after inoculation. The germinating conidia, hyphae, and conidiophores of the pathogen were severely damaged by D-pinitol at any time of application tested. The highest level of suppression of fungal development was obtained at 3 days after inoculation. The contents of chlorophyll, total phenolics, flavonoid, and gallic acid and its derivatives (GAD); the activities of phenylalanine ammonialyase (PAL), polyphenoloxidase (PPO), peroxidase (POX), and superoxide dismutase (SOD); and the expression of the genes encoding for PR-1, peroxidase (POX), lipoxygenase (LOX1), chitinase (Chit1) were higher in the cucumber leaves treated with D-pinitol and inoculated than in the leaves either treated with D-pinitol or inoculated with the pathogen. These results suggest that D-pinitol triggers several plant defense responses in cucumber leading to pathogen suppression and resistance to powdery mildew.

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