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 Communication between neural networks
17.12.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Neurons migrate in the nascent brain as if on rails
17.12.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Formed to Meet Customers’ Needs – New Laser Beams for Glass Processing

17.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Preserving soil quality in the long term

17.12.2018 | Architecture and Construction

New RNA sequencing strategy provides insight into microbiomes

17.12.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>