Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Laurentian Forestry Centre, 1055 du P.E.P.S., P.O. Box 3800, Sainte-Foy, Québec G1V 4C7, Canada
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Accepted for publication 23 August 2001.
A histological study was conducted to provide insights into the defense mechanisms of Pinus banksiana resistant to the European (EU) race of Gremmeniella abietina in naturally infected sites. At the time of sampling, the only apparent symptom was a blight induced at the tip of the shoots. The identity of G. abietina during microscopic examinations was confirmed by an immunogold labeling method. Once the fungus had succeeded in penetrating the bracts through stomata, it invaded the stem cortex and the phloem cells and attained the vascular cambium. The progression of the pathogen to the pith was possible principally through intense colonization of needle traces but also by the invasion of the rays. Ligno-suberized tissues confining the pathogen within the necrotic area were revealed by histochemical tests. Well-defined boundaries were initiated at the base of healthy needles and at the vascular cambium level. They regularly formed one continuous suberized barrier completely crossing the shoot from one needle to the other. A nonlamellar form of suberin was observed in transmission electron microscopy. Restoration of cambial activities and tissue regeneration following necrophylactic periderm formation were suggested as essential factors in the defense system of P. banksiana against the EU race of G. abietina. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of an anatomical defense mechanism of a conifer against Scleroderris canker.
© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society