Bark beetles and their fungal associates are integral parts of forest ecosystems, the European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus Linnaeus, 1758) and the associated pathogenic blue stain fungus Ceratocystis polonica (SIEM.) C. MOREAU, are the most devastating pests regarding Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) H. KARST.]. Bark beetles commonly inhabit weakened and felled trees as well as vital trees. They cause physiological disorders in trees by destroying a phloem and cambium or interrupt the transpiration -ow in the xylem. Conifers have a wide range of effective defence mechanisms that are based on the inner bark anatomy and physiological state of the tree. The basic function of bark defences is to protect the nutrient-and energy-rich phloem, the vital meristematic region of the vascular cambium, and the transpiration -ow in the sapwood. The main area of defence mechanisms is secondary phloem, which is physically and chemically protected by polyphenolic parenchyma (PP) cells, sclerenchyma, calcium oxalate crystals and resin ducts. Conifer trunk pest resistance includes constitutive, inducible defences and acquired resistance. Both constitutive and inducible defences may deter beetle invasion, impede fungal growth and close entrance wounds. During a successful attack, systemic acquired resistance (SAR) becomes effective and represents a third defence strategy. It gradually develops throughout the plant and provides a systemic change within the whole tree’s metabolism, which is maintained over a longer period of time. The broad range of defence mechanisms that contribute to the activation and utilisation of SAR, includes antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes, which are generally linked to the actions of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The presented review discusses the current knowledge on the antioxidant defence strategies of spruce inner bark against the bark beetle (Ips typographus) and associated blue stain fungus (Ceratocystis polonica).
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