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Phosphite stimulated histological responses of Eucalyptus marginata to infection by Phytophthora cinnamomi

Pilbeam, R.A., Howard, K.ORCID: 0000-0003-3977-1243, Shearer, B.L. and Hardy, G.E.St.J. (2011) Phosphite stimulated histological responses of Eucalyptus marginata to infection by Phytophthora cinnamomi. Trees - Structure and Function, 25 (6). pp. 1121-1131.

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Phosphite is used to protect plants from the soil borne pathogen, Phytophthora cinnamomi. Although phosphite stimulates resistance to P. cinnamomi, this is the first histological study of its effect on Eucalyptus marginata, an economically important forest tree in Western Australia. Clonal lines of E. marginata, considered resistant and susceptible to P. cinnamomi, were underbark inoculated with P. cinnamomi. 4 days later, they were treated with 0, 2. 5, 5 or 10 g L-1 phosphite. Transverse hand sections were stained for suberin and lignin, and histological responses to infection were examined. Defence responses were stimulated at all phosphite concentrations in both clonal lines, and the genotypic difference in lesion length was eliminated within 8 days of treatment. In the resistant line, suberin production was stimulated while in the susceptible line both lignin and suberin were stimulated. By 2 days after treatment, phosphite stimulated a faster rate of suberin production in the resistant line than the susceptible line, but by 4 days after treatment, there was no difference in the increase between the lines. Damage caused by P. cinnamomi was found to extend furthest in the cortex and outer phloem in transverse sections in both genotypes. In the presence of P. cinnamomi, phosphite stimulated mitosis as part of the defence response, with meristematic activity involved in the compartmentalisation of damaged tissue (formation of periderm) and closure of healthy tissue (callus). Phytotoxicity had a detrimental effect in healthy tissues and this was more apparent in the resistant line, where it did not provide the best protection from lesion extension and plant mortality, suggesting phytotoxicity could disrupt defence responses. Phosphite increases the capacity of susceptible and resistant E. marginata clonal lines to wall-off and contain P. cinnamomi colonisation through lignin and suberin deposition, and increased meristematic activity.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Phytophthora Science and Management
School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Copyright: © 2011 Springer-Verlag
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