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"They do crunch and munch"
"The impact of horse-chestnut leaf miner Cameraria ohridella on the photosynthetic area of the leaves of white chestnut in Silesia"

LABPLANT - research, development work,
ul. Kubicy 1/13, 43-100 Tychy

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Description popularizing the research project

No matter if it is a daisy or sequoia, all plants have their own oppressors. The ones that devour or a birch or beech seedling in one bite, as ungulates usually do. Other aggressors employ a different strategy of using assets of the host slowly so as to have them longer for themselves and their offspring. They settle down among the roots, bite through the bark, suck the stem, crawl under epidermis, bite in the buds, annex fruit and seeds for their shelter and forage. From germination till death, for the first warmest months of the year till frost freezes the tissues, or for several hundred years till the wind tips over the rotten trunk, each organ of a plant is in danger of being attacked by relentless 'parasites'.
They are most often insects: adult forms that have very little time left and are too busy accomplishing their final mission - reproduction, or larvae, the successful result of the mission, infamous for their insatiable appetite. Grubs of beetles bit by bit biting off roots, bark beetles capable of decimating a forest, the Acrididae devouring plantations to the ground, aphids whose visit means buds never to blossom again, finally larvae of horse-chestnut leaf miner with such an insatiable appetite that chestnut trees in July look like in November are all just a few examples. Although the plants do defend themselves covering their leaves and shoots with wax, thorns, stinging hairs and producing substances which are at least untasty, they sometimes get dominated. Sometimes ladybirds and other insectivores come to the rescue. Sometimes, when the forces are not equal, a man interferes with chemical weapon armament, especially if bountiful harvest is expected. There are also mutual agreements between the plants and its consumer, which lead to a stalemate despite the pesticide support. The struggle for leaves between chestnuts and horse-chestnut leaf miners is an example of such a stalemate. Chestnuts will not get any allies in the fight as horse-chestnut leaf miners, intruder from the south of Europe, does not have any natural enemies in Poland. Every year they ravage crowns of chestnuts, and every year the trees are covered with leaves again. The fight is on, and we can only learn something new studying the chapter of the book of life...


The horse-chestnut leaf miner (Cameraria ohridella) - an invasive butterfly from Macedonia is currently a real threat to white chestnuts, which are planted in Poland as an ornamental trees. Rapid spread of the butterfly is caused by lack of natural enemies. Cameraria ohridella feeding in the leaf mesophyll damages leaves causing their earlier fall. This caused a progressive reduction in a photosynthetically active leaf area in time and disturbances of physiology. The aim of the study is to demonstrate the relationship between the level of damage to the leaf by the horse-chestnut leaf miner and: . the level of environmental contamination, the procedures used for pest control. For the purpose, we developed a computerized method of leaf surface analysis which calculates the degree of degradation of the leaf lamina.


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