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Friday, 23 September 2016 17:33

Does the plant parasite Cassytha stress Leptospermum?

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Melinda and Sharon have a new paper published with colleagues at the University of Adelaide. We helped Robert Cirocco, a PhD student from Adelaide, to extract photosynthetic pigments from an Australian native Hemiparasite Cassytha pubescensand its host plant Leptospermum myrsinoides. A hemiparasite plant is one which takes water and minerals from its host by taping into the xylem vessels that conduct water. It is not a full parasite because it is able to photosynthesise and make its own sugars.

Both Cassytha and Leptospermum have green tissue and pigments that we could extract and run on our high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) system. Robert was investigating how stressed the host plant gets when infected with the Cassytha, plus if the plants were more stressed in high or low light.

The paper is published online in Functional Plant Biology Cirocco, RM, Waterman, MW, Robinson, SA, Facelli, J, Watling JR. Native hemiparasite and light effects on photoprotection and photodamage in a native host.  Leptospermum myrsinoidesFunctional Plant Biology 

 In this picture you can see Cassytha (the green stem) attaching its modified root (haustoria) into an acacia plant. The cover image above shows how the parasite can blanket its host- most of what you see is the Cassytha.








Read 1428 times Last modified on Tuesday, 12 February 2019 18:34
Sharon Robinson

Senior Professor at University of Wollongong