Chitosan Stimulates Calcium Uptake and Enhances the Capability of Chinese Cabbage Plant to Resist Soft Rot Disease Caused by Pectobacterium carotovorum ssp. carotovorum

  • Jang, Eun-Jung (Department of Integrative Plant Science, Chung-Ang University) ;
  • Gu, Eun-Hye (Department of Integrative Plant Science, Chung-Ang University) ;
  • Hwang, Byoung-Ho (Department of Integrative Plant Science, Chung-Ang University) ;
  • Lee, Chan (Department of Food Science and Technology, Chung-Ang University) ;
  • Kim, Jong-Kee (Department of Integrative Plant Science, Chung-Ang University)
  • Received : 2012.01.18
  • Accepted : 2012.02.27
  • Published : 2012.04.30


Chinese cabbage plant was grown hydroponically for 4 weeks in order to examine the temporal relationship of calcium concentration of the nutrient solution with calcium content in the leaf tissue and susceptibility of the tissue to soft rot disease by $Pectobacterium$ $carotovorum$ ssp. $carotovorum$ (Pcc). Calcium concentration from 0.5 to 32.0 mM was maintained for 1 week using Hoagland & Arnon solution. The calcium content of the leaf was proportionally increased to the concentration of the nutrient in the solution (r = 0.912). In contrast, the severity of soft rot symptom in the young leaves was inversely related with the amount of calcium supplied to the nutrient solution (r = 0.899). Water-soluble chitosan, prepared by hollow fiber filtration (> 100 kDa) was applied into the nutrient solution from 0.0 to 5,000 ppm. The chitosan of 10 ppm was the most effective to promote calcium uptake of the leaf, showing 155% of the control. The same chitosan solution prohibited most soft rot development of the leaf by Pcc, exhibiting only 53% of the control. Among different molecular weight fractions, chitosan fraction obtained from 30-100 kDa molecular weight cut-off promoted calcium uptake the most up to 163% of the control, and reduced the development of soft rot disease recording merely 36% of the control of the leaf tissue. The results obtained in the present study suggest that large scale production of water-soluble chitosan with an optimum molecular weight and its commercial application to Chinese cabbage production will be important to improve yield and quality of the crop.


  1. Alfano, J.R. and A. Collmer. 1996. Bacterial pathogens in plants: life up against the wall. Plant Cell 8:1683-1698.
  2. Aranaz, I., M. Mengibar, R. Harris, I. Panos, B. Miralles, N. Acosta, G. Galed, and A. Heras. 2009. Functional characterization of chitin and chitosan. Curr. Chem. Biol. 3:203-230.
  3. Bhat, K.A., S.D. Masood, N.A. Bhat, M.A. Bhat, S.M. Razvi, M.R. Mir, S. Akhtar, N. Wani and M. Habib. 2010. Current status of post harvest soft rot in vegetables: A review. Asian J. Plant Sci. 9:200-208.
  4. Demarty, M., C. Morvan, and M. Thellier. 1984. Calcium and the cell wall. Plant Cell Environ. 7:441-448.
  5. Fritz, V.A., S. Honma, and I. Widders. 1988. Effects of petiole calcium status, petiole location, and plant age on the incidence and progression of soft rot in Chinese cabbage. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 113:56-61.
  6. Glenn, G.M. and B.W. Poovaiah. 1990. Calcium-mediated postharvest changes in texture and cell wall structure and composition in 'Golden Delicious' apples. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 115: 962-968.
  7. Jarvis, M.C. 1984. Structure and properties of pectin gels in plant cell walls. Plant Cell Environ. 7:153-164.
  8. Kim, B.S. and Y.R. Yeoung. 2004. Suppression of bacterial soft rot on Chinese cabbage by calcium fertilizer treatment. Res. Plant Dis. 10:82-85.
  9. Kotoujansky, A. 1987. Molecular genetics of pathogenesis by soft-rot Erwinias. Annu. Rev. Phytopathol. 25:405-430.
  10. Lee, S.S., J. Kim, W. Jun, and W.J. Choi. 2001. Development of dihaploid lines resistant to Erwinia carotovora in Chinese cabbage. J. Kor. Soc. Hort. Sci. 42:682-684.
  11. McGuire, R.G. and A. Kelman. 1984. Reduced severity of Erwinia soft rot in potato tubers with increased calcium content. Phytopathology 74:1250-1256.
  12. Marschner, P. 2011. Marschner's mineral nutrition of higher plants. 3nd ed. Academic Press, Elsevier, USA. p. 171-189.
  13. Park, S.W., B.H. Hwang, W.Y. Kim, and J. Kim. 2004. Changes in cell wall carbohydrates composition and Ca distribution of Brassica campestris ssp. pekinensis in relation to Erwinia polygalacturonase production during soft rot development. J. Kor. Soc. Hort. Sci. 45:223-232.
  14. Pillai, C.K.S., W. Paul, and C.P. Sharma. 2009. Chitin and chitosan polymers: Chemistry, solubility and fiber formation. Prog. Polymer Sci. 34:641-678.
  15. Platero, M. and G. Tejerina. 1976. Calcium nutrition in Phaseolus vulgaris in relation to its resistance to Erwinia carotovora. J. Phytopathol. 85:314-319.
  16. Ren, J., R. Petzoldt, and M.H. Dickson. 2001. Screening and identification of resistance to bacterial soft rot in Brassica rapa. Euphytica 118:271-280.
  17. Shin, S.S., Y.C. Lee, and C. Lee. 2001. The degradation of chitosan with the aid of lipase from Rhizopus japonicus for the production of soluble chitosan. J. Food Biochem. 25:307-321.
  18. White, P.J. and M.R. Broadley. 2003. Calcium in plants. Ann. Bot. 92:487-511.