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Biomass, nutrient and pigment content of beech (Fagus sylvatica) saplings infected with Phytophthora citricola, P. cambivora, P. pseudosyringae and P. undulata

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Fagus sylvatica saplings were infected with Phytophthora citricola, Phytophthora cambivora, Phytophthora pseudosyringae and Phytophthora undulata to study the influence of these root pathogens on total belowground and aboveground biomass, on the nutrient distribution within plants, on the concentration of plastid pigments, including tocopherol and on components of the xanthophyll cycle. Phytophthora citricola and P. cambivora infection significantly reduced total biomass of beech when compared with control plants and finally most of these plants died at the end of the experiment. However, beech invaded by the other two Phytophthora spp. did not differ from control plants and none of them was killed. Fine root length as well as the number of root tips of all infected beeches were reduced between 30 and 50%. The excellent growth of beech infected with P. pseudosyringae and P. undulata when compared with control plants was correlated with a strong increase of important root efficiency parameters. Phytophthora citricola and P. cambivora caused a significant reduction in nitrogen concentration of leaves in comparison with control and other infected plants, whereas this nutrient was slightly increased in fine and coarse roots. Furthermore, the phosphorus and potassium concentrations in leaves were impaired after infection with P. citricola. However, foliar concentrations of Ca and Mg were not affected by the different Phytophthora spp., whereas fine and coarse roots were significantly enriched with Ca in beech infected with P. citricola or P. cambivora. The concentrations of α-tocopherol and xanthophyll cycle pigments were increased in plants infected by P. citricola and P. cambivora, indicating that several reactive oxygen species might be formed in leaves during infection.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Section Pathology of Forest Trees, Technische Universität München, Am Hochanger 13, 85354 Freising, Germany 2: Section Forest Nutrition and Water Household, Technische Universität München, Am Hochanger 13, 85354 Freising, Germany 3: Institute of Botany, Univ. of Innsbruck, Sternwartestr. 15, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria, and GSF-Research Center Munich, Dept. Environm. Simulation, Ingolstädter Landstraße 1, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany

Publication date: 2004-04-01

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