Trabeculae in Patagonian mountain cypress (Austrocedrus chilensis) associated with Phytophthora austrocedri infection

in IAWA Journal
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Phytophthora austrocedri is a straminipilous (heterokonta) organism that causes mortality of Austrocedrus chilensis, an endemic Cupressaceae from the Patagonian Andes forest in temperate South America. This soil pathogen colonizes and kills the roots and extends up to the stem causing necrosis of cambium, phloem and xylem ray parenchyma. An anatomical study of affected tissues was conducted in order to better understand the process of pathogen colonization and tree response. It was found that tracheids of the xylem of affected trees showed large numbers of trabeculae, both rod- and plate-shaped. The occurrence of these structures was clearly associated with the necrotic lesion area, since the trabeculae were rare in healthy tissues above the necrotic lesion. Trabeculae occurred in a variety of arrangements: solitary or in long files, single, double or triple. Our results could indicate that trabeculae proliferation in tracheids of A. chilensis trees is induced by the stress generated by the P. austrocedri invasion. Whether this is triggered by a nonspecific stress response or in direct response to the pathogen remains to be tested.

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