Common mistletoe is increasingly mentioned as contributing not only to the decline of deciduous trees at roadside and in city parks, but to conifers in stands. The presence of Viscum in fir stands has been known for many years, but since 2015 has also been the cause of damage to pine. In 2019, mistletoe was observed on 77.5 thousand hectares of Scots pine stands in southern and central Poland. Drought resulting from global climate change is implicated as an important factor conducive to weakening trees and making them more susceptible to the spread of mistletoe and other pests. This paper presents an overview of the latest information on the development of this semi-parasitic plant in Poland, its impact on tree breeding traits and raw material losses, as well as current options for its prevention and eradication.
Compared with traditional gas chromatography–mass spectrometry techniques, electronic noses are non-invasive and can be a rapid, cost-effective option for several applications. This paper presents comparative studies of differentiation between odors emitted by two forest pathogens: Pythium and Phytophthora, measured by a low-cost electronic nose. The electronic nose applies six non-specific Figaro Inc. metal oxide sensors. Various features describing shapes of the measurement curves of sensors’ response to the odors’ exposure were extracted and used for building the classification models. As a machine learning algorithm for classification, we use the Support Vector Machine (SVM) method and various measures to assess classification models’ performance. Differentiation between Phytophthora and Pythium species has an important practical aspect allowing forest practitioners to take appropriate plant protection. We demonstrate the possibility to recognize and differentiate between the two mentioned species with acceptable accuracy by our low-cost electronic nose.
The European Fraxinus species are threatened by the alien invasive pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, which was introduced into Poland in the 1990s and has spread throughout the European continent, causing a large-scale decline of ash. There are no effective treatments to protect ash trees against ash dieback, which is caused by this pathogen, showing high variations in susceptibility at the individual level. Earlier studies have shown that the application of phosphites could improve the health of treated seedlings after artificial inoculation with H. fraxineus. Three-year-old F. excelsior seedlings were inoculated with the following pathogens: a H. fraxineus, Phytophthora species mixture (P. plurivora, P. megasperma, and P. taxon hungarica), in combination with two pathogens and mock-inoculated as the control, and then either watered or treated with ammonium phosphite (Actifos). Results showed significant differences in the survival of seedlings and symptoms of disease development among the treatments. Chlorophyll-a fluorescence parameters indicated a decrease in photosynthetic efficiency in infected plants, suggesting that they were under strong biotic stress, but none of the parameters could be used as a reliable bioindicator for ash decline disease. The application of Actifos enhanced the production of triterpenes (ursolic and oleanolic acid), and decreased the production of phenols (tyrosol) and sterols (β-sitosterol) in seedlings infected with H. fraxineus. Treatment with Actifos caused seedlings to enhance their response to pathogen(s) attack and increase their survival probability.
The purpose of this study was to better understand the interactive impact of two soil-borne pathogens, Phytophthora cactorum and Armillaria gallica, on seedlings of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth.) subjected to stress caused by mechanical defoliation, simulating primary insect feeding. This is the first experimental confirmation of silver birch seedling root damage (and in consequence shoot mortality) caused by the additive effect of defoliation stress and P. cactorum inoculation via soil. However, the most severe damage to roots occurred after A. gallica inoculation. One year after treatments, chlorophyll fluorescence measurement, and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS) were used to analyze the photosynthetic activity in leaves, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by the birch leaves, and chemical compounds from the roots. The cumulative effect of the two pathogens and partial defoliation reduced photosynthetic activity, suggesting dysfunction of photosystem PSII due to the applied stresses. In summary, it seems that the main differences in photosynthetic performance could be attributed to Armillaria infection. The birch leaves in seedlings exposed to 50% defoliation, and inoculation with P.cactorum and A. gallica, emitted more aromatic carbonyls and alcohols, as well as half as much aliphatic esters, compared to controls. In infected birch roots, the production of phenols, triterpenes, and fatty alcohols increased, but fatty acids decreased. Higher levels of aromatic carbonyls and alcohols in leaves, as well as phenolic compounds in the roots of stressed birches (compared to control) suggest an activation of plant systemic acquired resistance (SAR).
Electronic noses can be applied as a rapid, cost-effective option for several applications. This paper presents the results of measurements of samples of two pathogenic fungi, Fusarium oxysporum and Rhizoctonia solani, performed using two constructions of a low-cost electronic nose. The first electronic nose used six non-specific Figaro Inc. metal oxide gas sensors. The second one used ten sensors from only two models (TGS 2602 and TGS 2603) operating at different heater voltages. Sets of features describing the shapes of the measurement curves of the sensors’ responses when exposed to the odours were extracted. Machine learning classification models using the logistic regression method were created. We demonstrated the possibility of applying the low-cost electronic nose data to differentiate between the two studied species of fungi with acceptable accuracy. Improved classification performance could be obtained, mainly for measurements using TGS 2603 sensors operating at different voltage conditions.
The main purpose of this publication is to present the current progress of the work associated with the use of a lightweight unmanned platforms for various environmental studies. Current development in information technology, electronics and sensors miniaturisation allows mounting multispectral cameras and scanners on unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that could only be used on board aircraft and satellites. Remote Sensing Division in the Institute of Aviation carries out innovative researches using multisensory platform and lightweight unmanned vehicle to evaluate the health state of forests in Wielkopolska province. In this paper, applicability of multispectral images analysis acquired several times during the growing season from low altitude (up to 800m) is presented. We present remote sensing indicators computed by our software and common methods for assessing state of trees health. The correctness of applied methods is verified using analysis of satellite scenes acquired by Landsat 8 OLI instrument (Operational Land Imager).
The following paper presents the results on the determination of the diversity of species from the Phytophthora genus occurring in the declining oak stands in Krotoszyn Plateau in Poland. From the 50s of the last century, significant deterioration of oak health was observed in these stands, and Phytophthora species were suggested as one of the factors of the decline. In order to determine the presence of pathogenic organisms from the Phytophthora genus in these stands, 180 rhizosphere soil samples from three forest districts throughout the Krotoszyn Plateau were collected and subjected to the isolation method. Phytophthora species were consistently isolated from all the sampled stands, and 194 isolates from 111 positive samples were obtained. However, 150 (77%) and 44 (23%) isolates originated from the samples taken under the symptomatic and asymptomatic trees, respectively. All the obtained isolates were morphologically classified using the light and scanning electron microscopy and divided into morphological groups. Genomic DNA was isolated from selected isolates representing each group, ITS regions were amplified and sequence analyses were performed. In total, four different Phytophthora species were detected, including P. cactorum, P. plurivora, P. quercina and P. europaea. The most often isolated species were P. cactorum and P. plurivora. This is the first report of P. europaea in oak stands in Poland.
Five Phytophthora species were isolated from the rhizosphere of ash-dominated areas of the Białowieza European lowland forest nature reserve area. Morphological and DNA analyses identified Phytophthora fragariaefolia, P. plurivora, P. cactorum, P. lacustris and P. pseudosyringae. This is the first record of P. fragariaefolia in ash forests and demonstrates that several species in the potentially highly damaging Phytophthora genus are present within a near-pristine ecosystem.
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