Mistletoe (Viscum album) infestation in the Scots pine stimulates drought-dependent oxidative damage in summer

Creative Commons License

Mutlu S., Ilhan V., TÜRKOĞLU H. İ.

Tree Physiology, vol.36, no.4, pp.479-489, 2016 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 36 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1093/treephys/tpv135
  • Journal Name: Tree Physiology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.479-489
  • Keywords: antioxidant enzyme, oxidative stress, Pinus sylvestris, reactive oxygen species.
  • Erzincan Binali Yildirim University Affiliated: Yes


© 2016 The Author.This study sought to contribute to the understanding of the detrimental effect of the mistletoe (Viscum album L.), a hemiparasitic plant, on the mortality of the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.). Fieldwork was conducted in the town of Kelkit (Gumushane province, Turkey) from April to October in 2013. Pine needles of similar ages were removed from the branches of mistletoe-infested and noninfested Scots pine plants, then transported to the laboratory and used as research materials. The effects of the mistletoe on the Scots pine during infestation were evaluated by determining the levels of water, electrolyte leakage (EL), malondialdehyde (MDA, being a product of lipid peroxidation) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as superoxide anion (O2-•), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and hydroxyl radical (•OH). In addition, the activities of antioxidative enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and peroxidase (POX) were measured in the same samples. The highest level of drought stress was found in summer (especially in August) as a result of the lowest water content in the soil and the highest average temperature occurring in these months. The drought stress induced by mistletoe infestation caused a regular decrease in water content, while it increased the levels of EL, MDA and ROS (H2O2, O2-• and •OH). The infestation also stimulated the activities of CAT and POX, with the exception of SOD. On the other hand, in August, when the drought conditions were the harshest, the levels of EL and MDA, which are two of the most important indicator parameters for oxidative stress, as well as the levels of H2O2 and •OH, which are two of the ROS leading to oxidative stress, reached the highest values in both infested and noninfested needles, whereas the O2-• level decreased. For the same period and needles, CAT activity increased, while SOD activity decreased. Peroxidase activity, however, did not exhibit a significant change. Our findings indicate that the increased mortality of the Scots pine may result from the mistletoe-induced very severe drought stress, and that the increase in the capacity of antioxidative enzyme system does not protect the plant against oxidative stress in dry summer seasons.