Warming Scenarios and Phytophthora cinnamomi Infection in Chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.)

Plants (Basel). 2023 Jan 26;12(3):556. doi: 10.3390/plants12030556.


The main threats to chestnut in Europe are climate change and emerging pathogens. Although many works have separately addressed the impacts on chestnut of elevated temperatures and Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands (Pc) infection, none have studied their combined effect. The objectives of this work were to describe the physiology, secondary metabolism and survival of 6-month-old C. sativa seedlings after plants were exposed to ambient temperature, high ambient temperature and heat wave events, and subsequent infection by Pc. Ten days after the warming scenarios, the biochemistry of plant leaves and roots was quantified and the recovery effect assessed. Plant growth and root biomass under high ambient temperature were significantly higher than in plants under ambient temperature and heat wave event. Seven secondary metabolite compounds in leaves and three in roots were altered significantly with temperature. Phenolic compounds typically decreased in response to increased temperature, whereas ellagic acid in roots was significantly more abundant in plants exposed to ambient and high ambient temperature than in plants subjected to heat waves. At recovery, leaf procyanidin and catechin remained downregulated in plants exposed to high ambient temperature. Mortality by Pc was fastest and highest in plants exposed to ambient temperature and lowest in plants under high ambient temperature. Changes in the secondary metabolite profile of plants in response to Pc were dependent on the warming scenarios plants were exposed to, with five compounds in leaves and three in roots showing a significant ‘warming scenario’ × ‘Pc’ interaction. The group of trees that best survived Pc infection was characterised by increased quercetin 3-O-glucuronide, 3-feruloylquinic acid, gallic acid ethyl ester and ellagic acid. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study addressing the combined effects of global warming and Pc infection in chestnut.

PMID:36771639 | DOI:10.3390/plants12030556


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