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  • Data: 24 Mag 2023


Plant viruses can affect micro- and macro-nutrients homeostasis in woody plants, with fluctuation in the concentration of some elements at the leaf level due to the pathogen activity and/or the plant physiological response to the infection.Leaves of Fraxinus ornus L. (flowering ash) were sampled for three consecutive years in the city of Hamburg (Germany), from both trees showing the typical symptoms of the ash shoestring associated virus infection (ASaV+) and healthy trees (ASaV-). Such leaves were analyzed by μ-XRF, using both laboratory and synchrotron X-ray sources, and large differences between symptomatic and not symptomatic leaves were observed: ASaV+ samples showed uneven element distribution and regions of the lamina with severe depletions of P, S, and Ca. Differently, K appeared more concentrated. Thus, 139 leaflets sampled from various healthy and infected ash trees over the three-year period were analyzed for K and Ca concentration with a portable XRF instrument. We found that the K:Ca concentration ratio was always significantly higher in ASaV+ samples, and this trend was verified for all the samplings over the tree years. We conclude that the K:Ca ratio parameter has potential in the frame of trendsetting diagnostics and could be used, together with visual symptoms, for a rapid, non-destructive, on-site and cheap indirect ASaV detection.

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