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NIBIOs employees contribute to several hundred scientific articles and research reports every year. You can browse or search in our collection which contains references and links to these publications as well as other research and dissemination activities. The collection is continously updated with new and historical material.



Tree defense against xylem pathogens involves both constitutive and induced phenylpropanoids and terpenoids. The induced defenses include compartmentalization of compromised wood with a reaction zone (RZ) characterized by polyphenol deposition, whereas the role of terpenoids has remained poorly understood. To further elucidate the tree–pathogen interaction, we profiled spatial patterns in lignan (low-molecular-weight polyphenols) and terpenoid content in Norway spruce (Picea abies) trees showing heartwood colonization by the pathogenic white-rot fungus Heterobasidion parviporum. There was pronounced variation in the amount and composition of lignans between different xylem tissue zones of diseased and healthy trees. Intact RZ at basal stem regions, where colonization is the oldest, showed the highest level and diversity of these compounds. The antioxidant properties of lignans obviously hinder oxidative degradation of wood: RZ with lignans removed by extraction showed significantly higher mass loss than unextracted RZ when subjected to Fenton degradation. The reduced diversity and amount of lignans in pathogen-compromised RZ and decaying heartwood in comparison to intact RZ and healthy heartwood suggest that α-conindendrin isomer is an intermediate metabolite in lignan decomposition by H. parviporum. Diterpenes and diterpene alcohols constituted above 90% of the terpenes detected in sapwood of healthy and diseased trees. A significant finding was that traumatic resin canals, predominated by monoterpenes, were commonly associated with RZ. The findings clarify the roles and fate of lignan during wood decay and raise questions about the potential roles of terpenoids in signal transduction, synthesis, and translocation of defense compounds upon wood compartmentalization against decay fungi.


Established invasive alien plant species make it difficult and costly to move and make use of infested soil in public and private construction work. Stationary soil steaming as a non-chemical control method has the potential to disinfect soil masses contaminated with seeds and other propagative plant materials. The outcome can vary depending on steaming temperature and duration. Higher temperatures and longer durations are relatively more efficient but may also have side-effects including change in soil physical and chemical characteristics. Barnyard grass (Echinochloa crus-galli) is among troublesome invasive species in Norway. We have tested different steam duration at 99°C to find the possible lowest effective exposure duration for killing seeds of this annual grass species. Four replications of 40 barnyard grass dry seeds of one population were placed in polypropylene-fleece bags (9*7 cm), moistened for 12 hours, and covered by the soil at a depth of 7 cm in 60*40*20 cm boxes. The boxes with soil and bags were steamed at 99°C for 1.5, 3 and 9 min. The bags including steamed seeds were taken out, opened, placed on soil surface in pots and covered by a thin layer of soil. The pots were placed in greenhouse and watered from below and seed germination was followed for a month. Moistened non-steamed seeds were used as control. It was shown that steaming at 99°C gave 0% germination indicating that 100% of the seeds were killed regardless of exposure duration while in the control seed germination was 100%. Consequently, to achieve an efficacy of 100%, exposure duration of 1.5 min would be enough. Finding the lowest possible steam temperature and exposure duration to get the highest possible seed killing in a seed mixture of different plant species as well as other factors to increase the heat transferability are under investigation. Keywords: Echinochloa crus-galli; Resource recovery; Steaming temperature and duration; Thermal soil disinfection


The populations of European ash and its harmless fungal associate Hymenoscyphus albidus are in decline owing to ash dieback caused by the invasive Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, a fungus that in its native range in Asia is a harmless leaf endophyte of local ash species. To clarify the behavior of H. albidus and its spatial and temporal niche overlap with the invasive relative, we used light microscopy, fungal species-specific qPCR assays, and PacBio long-read amplicon sequencing of the ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 region to examine fungal growth and species composition in attached leaves of European ash. The plant material was collected from a healthy stand in central Norway, where ash saplings in late autumn showed leaflet vein necrosis like that commonly related to H. fraxineus. For reference, leaflet samples were analyzed from stands with epidemic level of ash dieback in southeastern Norway and Estonia. While H. albidus was predominant in the necrotic veins in the healthy stand, H. fraxineus was predominant in the diseased stands. Otherwise, endophytes with pathogenic potential in the genera Venturia (anamorph Fusicladium), Mycosphaerella (anamorph Ramularia), and Phoma, and basidiomycetous yeasts formed the core leaflet mycobiome both in the healthy and diseased stands. In necrotic leaf areas with high levels of either H. albidus or H. fraxineus DNA, one common feature was the high colonization of sclerenchyma and phloem, a region from which the ascomata of both species arise. Our data suggest that H. albidus can induce necrosis in ash leaves, but that owing to low infection pressure, this first takes place in tissues weakened by autumn senescence, 1–2 months later in the season than what is characteristic of H. fraxineus at an epidemic phase of ash dieback. The most striking difference between these fungi would appear to be the high fecundity of H. fraxineus. The adaptation to a host that is phylogenetically closely related to European ash, a tree species with high occurrence frequency in Europe, and the presence of environmental conditions favorable to H. fraxineus life cycle completion in most years may enable the build-up of high infection pressure and challenge of leaf defense prior to autumn senescence.