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Host-species-dependent physiological characteristics of hemiparasite Santalum album in association with N2-fixing and non-N2-fixing hosts native to southern China

Host-species-dependent physiological characteristics of hemiparasite Santalum album in association with N2-fixing and non-N2-fixing hosts native to southern China

Tree Physiology 34(9): 1006-1017

Understanding the interactions between the hemiparasite Santalum album L. and its hosts has theoretical and practical significance in sandalwood plantations. In a pot study, we tested the effects of two non-N2-fixing (Bischofia polycarpa (Levl.) Airy Shaw and Dracontomelon duperreranum Pierre) and two N2-fixing hosts (Acacia confusa Merr. and Dalbergia odorifera T. Chen) on the growth characteristics and nitrogen (N) nutrition of S. album. Biomass production of shoot, root and haustoria, N and total amino acid were significantly greater in S. album grown with the two N2-fixing hosts. Foliage and root δ(15)N values of S. album were significantly lower when grown with N2-fixing than with non-N2-fixing hosts. Significantly higher photosynthetic rates and ABA (abscisic acid) concentrations were seen in S. album grown with D. odorifera. Similarity in the proportional amounts of amino acid of root xylem sap between S. album and its host D. odorifera was also evident, suggesting major access to nitrogenous solutes from D. odorifera to S. album. Irrespective of host species, S. album clearly appeared to optimize xylem sap extraction from its hosts by higher transpiration and lower water-use efficiency than its host. The growth of two non-N2-fixing hosts parasitized by S. album was significantly greater than the equivalent values for unparasitized treatments, and lower growth and photosynthesis were observed for parasitized A. confusa, and significant decreases in root N, photosynthesis and transpiration for parasitized D. odorifera compared with unparasitized treatments. Furthermore, foliage ABA concentrations were significantly higher in all hosts parasitized by S. album than in their unparasitized counterparts. Our study is probably the first to report on host dependence and preference in the hemiparasite S. album, and the generated results may have important implications for understanding of the physiological interactions between host species and parasitic plants, and for successfully mixing plantations of S. album with D. odorifera.

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Accession: 053584912

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PMID: 25216726

DOI: 10.1093/treephys/tpu073

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