Effect of CO2 enhancement on beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) seedling root rot due to Phytophthora plurivora and Phytophthora cactorum

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Global climate change is associated with higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). The ongoing changes are likely to have significant, direct or indirect effects on plant diseases caused by many biotic agents such as phytopathogenic fungi. This study results showed that increased CO2 concentration did not stimulate the growth of 1-year-old beech Fagus sylvatica L seedlings but it activated pathogenic Phytophthora species (P. plurivora and P. cactorum) which caused significant reduction in the total number of fine roots as well as their length and area. The results of the greenhouse experiment indicated that pathogens once introduced into soil survived in pot soil, became periodically active (in sufficient water conditions) and were able to damage beech fine roots. However, the trees mortality was not observed during the first year of experiment. DNA analyses performed on soil and beech tissue proved persistence of introduced Phytophthora isolates.

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