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Keywords:

  • Fagus sylvatica;
  • Phytophthora;
  • root rot;
  • photosynthesis;
  • transpiration;
  • water use efficiency (WUE)

Abstract: In this contribution, we compare the influence of four different Phytophthora species on root development, net CO2 assimilation and transpiration of beech seedlings and saplings. Some few days after inoculation, photosynthesis and transpiration of seedlings infected with either P. citricola or P. cambivora were strongly reduced. In parallel, about 60 % of their root systems was destroyed compared to control plants. Three weeks after infection, all seedlings were dead, showing severe wilt symptoms on leaves. Remarkably, P. syringae and P. undulata infected seedlings and older beech plants did not differ from controls regarding photosynthesis and transpiration, although the root systems were damaged. However, a significant influence on net CO2 assimilation and transpiration of P. citricola infected beech saplings was visible after bud break in the following year. Some days before plants started to wilt, photosynthesis and transpiration were reduced to almost zero. Water use efficiency data (WUE) clearly indicated that infected plants suffered from severe drought.