RESISTANCE TO ALTERNARIA BROWN SPOT OF NEW CITRUS HYBRIDS
ABSTRACT Alternaria brown spot (ABS) disease is caused by the fungus of Alternaria alternata f. sp. citri, which causes injury in leaves, branches and fruits of citrus. The action of the pathogen is directly related to the presence of toxin receptors in susceptible genotypes. The objective of this study was to characterize a population of citrus hybrids obtained from controlled crosses between Pêra de Abril sweet orange and the hybrid of Murcott tangor x Pêra sweet orange (TM x LP 163) for response to ABS through the in vitro inoculation of fungal spores in young detached leaves. The fungus was isolated from the lesions of Murcott tangor fruits that exhibited ABS symptoms. Two hundred thirty-five hybrids were evaluated, and 70 (30%) showed different levels of disease symptoms on detached leaves after 72 hours of inoculation with the fungus, and 165 (70%) were asymptomatic. The frequency of segregation observed (165R:70S) and high level of heritability (h2g = 0.91) suggest that few genes may be involved in controlling the inheritance of ABS resistance in citrus.