Effects of Rhizoctonia infection and drought on peroxidase and chitinase activity in Norway spruce (Picea abies)


  • Edited by C. Guy

* e-mail: nina.nagy@skogforsk.no


Seedlings of Norway spruce were exposed to fungal infection and drought in order to investigate differences in their stress responses on the enzymatic level. Six-week-old seedlings were infected with the root rot fungus Rhizoctonia, or subjected to drought, respectively. Changes at the enzymatic level were more rapid and significantly higher in infected plants in comparison with drought-stressed spruce plants. Rhizoctonia infection resulted in early local and systemic increase in peroxidase and chitinase activity. The most prominent isoforms responding were highly basic peroxidases and chitinases (pI 9–9.5) and several acidic chitinases (pI3–4). An increased intensity of similar peroxidase isoforms was found in drought-affected plants. Two peroxidase isoforms (with pI < 9) accumulated exclusively in response to drought. These results suggest that at an early stage of infection and drought stress, the two stresses can be distinguished by the temporal appearance and isoform profile of peroxidases and chitinases. Changes in enzyme activity appeared before changes in physiological parameters, thus these isoform profiles could be used as early markers of stress conditions in spruce.