Mechanical injury and fungal infection induce acquired resistance in Norway spruce

Tree Physiol. 1999 May;19(6):399-403. doi: 10.1093/treephys/19.6.399.


Norway spruce trees (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) pretreated by wounding and fungal infection showed highly enhanced resistance to a subsequent challenge inoculation with the pathogenic bluestain fungus Ceratocystis polonica (Siem.) C. Moreau. This is the first time the effectiveness of the constitutive and inducible defenses has been shown to depend on prior wounding and infection in conifers, although such acquired resistance has previously been found in several angiosperms. Trees that were pretreated with a combination of 12 bark wounds (1.6 x 10 cm), four fungal inoculations and four sterile inoculations 1-15 days before mass inoculation with C. polonica at 400 inoculations per square meter over a 0.8 m stem section had significantly shorter necroses in the phloem, less bluestained sapwood, and less dead cambium than untreated control trees. Pretreatment with four fungal or sterile inoculations alone did not lead to enhanced resistance. Pretreatment by bark wounding alone seemed to provide an intermediate degree of resistance compared to bark wounding, fungal inoculations and sterile inoculations combined. All trees had a marked increase in the number of resin ducts in the year of inoculation compared with previous years, suggesting that formation of traumatic resin ducts play an important role in the development and maintainance of enhanced resistance.