White pine blister rust, Cronartium ribicola, has plagued the forests of North America for almost a century. Over past decades, eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) that appear to tolerate the disease have been selected and incorporated into breeding programs. Seeds from P. strobus with putative resistance were collected from Oconto River Seed Orchard, Nicolet National Forest, WI. Seedlings were grown for 5 months and artificially inoculated with basidiospores of C. ribicola in two replicated greenhouse experiments. Needles from infected seedlings were fixed, sectioned, and stained with a variety of histological reagents, and rate of mortality for the remaining seedlings was monitored. The most susceptible families suffered 50% mortality in approximately half the time of the more resistant families. Extensive inter- and intracellular hyphae were observed in needles from seedlings of susceptible families, whereas hyphal proliferation was restricted in needles of resistant seedlings. Needles from resistant families had pronounced responses to infection. Phenolics, observed with phloroglucinol-HCl staining, were deposited around infection sites where dense mycelial masses were present. Abnormal host cell growth and rapid cell death in the immediate area of infection were also observed in some eastern white pine families.
- Five-needle pines
- Host response