Role of Phytotoxins in Pine Wilt Diseases


  • Hachiro Oku


Characteristic rapid death of pines after infection by Bursaphelenchus xylophilus suggests the involvement of phytotoxins in the pine wilt disease syndrome. Crude extract from diseased pine is toxic to pine seedlings, whereas an extract from healthy pine is not. The response of seedlings to the crude toxin is more prominent in susceptible pine species than in resistant ones. Benzoic acid, catechol, dihydroconiferyl alcohol, 8-hydroxycarvotanacetone (carvone hydrate), and 10-hydroxyverbenone, which are toxic, low molecular weight metabolites, can be isolated from diseased pines. Other unidentified toxins are also found. The toxicity of some of these metabolites correlates positively to the susceptibility of pines to B. xylophilus. Some of these abnormal metabolites show synergistic toxicity when in combination. The D-isomer of 8-hydroxycarvotanacetone, dihydroconiferylalcohol, and 10-hydroxyverbenone inhibited the reproduction of B. xylophilus. Cellulase excreted by pinewood nematode also may be involved in rapid wilting. Key words: benzoic acid, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, catechol, carvone hydrate, cellulase, dihydroconiferylalcohol, 8-hydroxycarvotanacetone, 10-hydroxyverbenone, phytoalexin, synergistic effect, pinewood nematode.