Armillaria Infection and Water Stress Influence Gas-exchange Properties of Mediterranean Trees

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  • 1 Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706
  • | 2 Center for Forest Mycology Research, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI 53705
  • | 3 Department of Plant Pathology, University of Catania, Catania 95100, Italy

The effect of inoculating seedlings of Mediterranean cultivated trees grown under greenhouse conditions with North American isolates of Armillaria mellea (Vahl: Fr) Kumm. and A. ostoyae (Romagn.) Herink on net photosynthesis (A), stomatal conductance (gs), and water potential was examined. The effect of water stress was determined also on the same plant species independently and in combination with Armillaria infection. Red oak (Quercus rubra L.) was used as a control to indicate Armillaria virulence on North American trees. Carob (Ceratonia siliqua L.) was resistant to infection. Infection was successful in sour orange (Citrus aurantium L.), but A, gs, and water potential were unchanged over the 60-day experiment. In olive (Olea europea L.) and oak, A and gs were reduced following inoculation with A. mellea. A and gs of all species but carob were reduced under water stress. Olive and oak responses to water stress and Armillaria infection were quantitatively similar; however, the two stresses combined did not reduce A and gs further. Red oak was strongly susceptible to A. ostoyae infection, but Mediterranean trees were not infected by the same Armillaria isolate. Our results show that Armillaria infection may reduce A and gs in susceptible species.

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