Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tracking Down the Ash Tree Killer

21.03.2014

Volatile lactone of Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus inhibits germination of ash seeds

The leaves wilt, the crown dies off, the bark exhibits lesions, the wood becomes discolored – the ash forests of Europe are under threat. The perpetrator is an Asian fungus, and its progress is unstoppable. In order to develop effective countermeasures, the transmission pathway, progression of the disease, and propagation of the fungus must be clarified. German researchers have now identified a metabolic product of this killer fungus that inhibits the germination of ash seeds. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, they report on possible mechanisms for this activity.


Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus looks almost identical to its harmless relative, Hymenoscyphus albidus, but it causes heavy damage to the common ash, Fraxinus excelsior. Over the last two decades, this killer fungus from the Far East has rapidly spread from east to west across Europe, reaching the British Isles in 2012. There is no decline of the disease in sight. Only a small subpopulation of European ash trees seems to be resistant to this fungus, but it is unclear whether this portion is large enough to ensure the survival of this ecologically and economically important tree species, which is found in nearly all of Europe and parts of Asia around the Black Sea.

A team led by Jeroen S. Dickschat at the Technische Universität Braunschweig has extracted the volatile and nonvolatile metabolic products of the fungus and studied them by spectroscopic methods. The researchers found a suspect among the volatile compounds: in laboratory experiments, the lactone 3,4-dimethylpentan-4-olide inhibits the germination of ash seeds and causes necrosis.

Surprisingly, this compound is also found in nonpathogenic fungi. “Metabolites from the plants may play a role here by regulating the production of the lactone differently in different species of fungus,” suggests Dickschat. “This could also explain why Japanese ash trees are not affected by this fungus and some individuals of the European ash are also relatively resistant.” Another explanation could be the interaction between the lactone and certain microorganisms that are found in the European ash. “Such a mechanism would allow endophytes to act as mediators between the plant and its pathogen,” explains Dickschat. “A comparable mechanism has previously been discovered in another case: Lactones in the smoke produced by burning plants promote germination through a process in which interactions with plant bacteria might play a critical role.”

These new discoveries are important milestones in understanding ash dieback and possible mechanisms of resistance in the unaffected populations of ash. Says Dickschat: “The identification of the lactone as the virulence factor will hopefully pave the way for control of a pathogen that currently threatens the entire population of ash trees in Europe.”

About the Author

Dr. Jeroen S. Dickschat is Assitant Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Technical University of Braunschweig and recipient of the Dechema Young Scientists' Award for Natural Product Research 2014. His research interests focus on the biosynthesis and function of volatile natural products from microorganisms.

Author: Jeroen S. Dickschat, Technische Universtiät Braunschweig (Germany), http://www.oc.tu-bs.de/dickschat/jdickschat_de.html

Title: A Volatile Lactone of Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus, Pathogen of European Ash Dieback, Inhibits Host Germination

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201402290

Jeroen S. Dickschat | Angewandte Chemie

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>