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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2004

Impact of biological (Rotstop) and chemical (urea) treatments on fungal community structure in freshly cut Picea abies stumps

Vasiliauskas R, Lygis V, Thor M, Stenlid J


To control the infections by root rot fungi Heterobasidion spp., surfaces of freshly cut Norway spruce stumps are covered either by a biological (Rotstop; spore suspension of competitive saprotrophic fungus Phlebiopsis gigantea), or by a chemical (35% aqueous solution of urea) compound. In Fennoscandia, Rotstop and urea are applied, respectively, on 47,000 ha and on 2000 ha of forestland each year. The aim of this work was to assess the impact of biological and chemical control on biodiversity in communities of nontarget fungi in freshly cut (7-week-old) stumps. Isolation of fungi to pure culture was accomplished from 402 wood samples taken from 63 stumps, 21 treated with each of the compounds and 21 untreated. The isolations yielded 368 distinct fungal strains representing 47 species. Stump treatment led to decrease of species richness both in Rotstop-treated (by 15%) and in urea-treated (by 29%) stumps. Nevertheless, the stumps subjected to the biological compound were colonized mainly by the same fungi that occurred naturally in untreated stumps (Sorensen similarity indices; S-S = 0.69; S-N = 0.68). By contrast, chemical treatment strongly promoted stump colonization by Ascomycetes and Deuteromycetes, led to significant decrease of Zygomycetes, and almost completely eliminated Basidiomycetes (including Heterobasidion spp.). Thus, resemblance to a natural community was low (S-S = 0.45; S-N = 0.34). Rotstop treatment decreased significantly the extent of stump colonization by Heterobasidion spp., and increased that of P. gigantea. All strains of the latter were genetically identical among themselves and to the Rotstop strain. The mechanisms of biological and chemical control, and biodiversity aspects are discussed. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved


H root rot; Phlebiopsis gigantea; Biological and chemical control; Picea abies; Fungal community; Biodiversity; Rotstop; Urea

Published in

Biological Control
2004, Volume: 31, number: 3, pages: 405-413