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Summary

Within the scope of a research project on the condition of roots of declining oaks (Quercus robur, Quercus petraea), samples of fine roots and surrounding soil, specimens of stripe cankers on the stem base, and samples of stream water were examined for the presence of Phytophthora species using both baiting methods and selective agar media. At 27 sites in Germany (Bavaria, Rheinland-Pfalz, Schleswig-Holstein), Switzerland, Hungary, Italy and Slovenia the following species were isolated (mainly from soil): Phytophthora citricola, Phytophthora cactorum, Phytophthora cambivora, Phytophthora gon-apodyides, Phytophthora undulata, a species with affinity to Phytophthora drechsleri, and two additional species with close affinity to the Phytophthora cactorum group. Moreover, Pythium group P, Pythium anandrum, Pythium chamaehyphon, and many other Pythium species that have not yet been identified could be recovered. In a soil infestation test most isolates induced dieback of long root tips and necrotic lesions in the root cortex and at the root collar of Quercus robur seedlings. All Phytophthora species tested and Pythium group P caused cortical necrosis after stem inoculation of young Quercus robur trees. It could be shown in vitro that Phytophthora gonapodyides and Pythium group P were able to produce a wilting toxin. Nitrogen input and climatic changes are discussed as predisposing factors for root damage observed in the field.