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Anatomical and histochemical defence responses induced in juvenile leaves of Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus nitens by Mycosphaerella infection

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The responses of juvenile leaves of two Eucalyptus species, with contrasting susceptibility to infection by Mycosphaerella leaf disease, were compared. The anatomical changes, accumulation of phenolics, suberin, lignin and anthocyanin and the retention of chlorophyll were studied in leaf lesions of varying developmental stages caused by species of Mycosphaerella. Enhanced resistance of Eucalyptus nitens in southern Australia was attributed to the formation of an effective lignified and suberized necrophylactic periderm, to restrict pathogen spread. Leaves of E. nitens contained isobilateral palisade which resulted in both abaxial and adaxial cell division and the initiation of a strong reinforced cellular zone from an early lesion stage. Eucalyptus globulus formed a slower, distorted necrophylactic periderm through hypertrophic changes to existing mesophyll and limited cell divisions of the single adaxial palisade layer. Deposits of lignin and suberin did not occur until later in lesion development, which were not effective in preventing further disease development. From this study it is hypothesized that tolerance of eucalypts to Mycosphaerella pathogens may be associated with constitutive mesophyll density.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research, New Town Research Laboratories, 13 St John’s Avenue, New Town, Tasmania 7008, Australia 2: CRC for Forestry, Private Bag 12, Hobart, Tasmania, 7001, Australia

Publication date: December 1, 2007


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