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Journal of Arid Land  2012, Vol. 4 Issue (3): 342-348    DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2012.00342
Research Articles     
Effects of parasitic plant Cistanche deserticola on chlorophyll a fluorescence and nutrient accumulation of host plant Haloxylon ammodendron in the Taklimakan Desert
Li LI1,2, XinWen XU2, YongQiang SUN2, Wei HAN2, PengFei TU3
1 Cele National Station of Observation & Research for Desert-Grassland Ecosystem in Xinjiang, Cele 848300, China;
2 Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China;
3 State Key Laboratory of Natural and Biomimetic Drugs, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing 100191, China
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Abstract  The parasitic plant Cistanche deserticola attaches to Haloxylon ammodendron, a perennial shrub with high tolerance to salinity and drought. However, little was known about the parasite-host relation between the two species. Effects of the parasite on chlorophyll a fluorescence and nutrient accumulation in the host plant (H. ammodendron) were investigated in the Taklimakan Desert. Some photosynthetic parameters of both host and non-host H. ammodendron plants were measured by in vivo chlorophyll a fluorescence technology in the field. The assimilating branches of host and non-host plants were collected and nutrient and inorganic ion contents were analyzed. The results from field experiments showed that the infection of C. deserticola reduced the non-photochemical quenching of the variable chlorophyll fluorescence (NPQ) and the potential maximum quantum yield for primary photochemistry (Fv/Fm) of the host. Compared with non-host plants, the host H. ammodendron had low nutrient, low inorganic ion contents (Na+ and K+) and low K+/Na+ ratios in the assimilating branches. It suggested that C. deserticola infection reduced the nutrient acquisition and caused damage to the photoprotection through thermal dissipation of the energy of the photosystem II in the host, resulting in a decrease in the tolerance to salinity and high radiation. It was concluded that the attachment of the parasite plant (C. deserticola) had negative effects on the growth of its host.

Key wordsCalligonum mongolicum      related species      soil properties      fruit size      correlation
Received: 10 December 2011      Published: 03 September 2012
Corresponding Authors: Li LI     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Li LI, XinWen XU, YongQiang SU, Wei HAN, PengFei TU. Effects of parasitic plant Cistanche deserticola on chlorophyll a fluorescence and nutrient accumulation of host plant Haloxylon ammodendron in the Taklimakan Desert. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(3): 342-348.

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