Ecological Research

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 549–559 | Cite as

Relationship between the Ni hyperaccumulator Alyssum murale and the parasitic plant Orobanche nowackiana from serpentines in Albania

  • Aida Bani
  • Dolja Pavlova
  • Emile Benizri
  • Seit Shallari
  • Liri Miho
  • Marjol Meco
  • Edmira Shahu
  • Roger Reeves
  • Guillaume Echevarria
Special Feature Ultramafic Ecosystems: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Serpentine Ecology


Orobanche nowackiana Markgr. is the only parasitic flowering plant in Europe which is an obligate serpentinophyte. This plant parasitizes the Ni hyperaccumulator Alyssum murale Waldst. & Kit. which grows in many areas including serpentine slopes of Mt. Komjan (Albania). The aims of the study were to investigate this host/parasite relationship from a biogeochemical point of view in order to evaluate: (1) the metal accumulation in different parts of the parasite and host plants and (2) the effect of Orobanche infection on host growth. Soil and plant samples of A. murale and O. nowackiana were analyzed for elemental concentrations after acid digestion using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (Ca, Mg, Fe, Ni, Cr, Co, Zn, Cu, Mn, Na, Al), colorimetry (for N and P), and flame photometry (for K). Individuals of A. murale, both infected and healthy, showed slight differences in their composition of essential elements (N, P, K) and of some micronutrients. The parasite had higher P, K, Na, and lower N, Ca, Mg, Ni, Zn, Co, Mn and Al concentrations than the host. Orobanche nowackiana is a Ni accumulator with 299 mg kg−1 in the leaves. Hyperaccumulation of Ni by A. murale did not prevent attack by O. nowackiana. After infection there was a decline in Ni concentration and the dry weight of all organs of the host, thus reducing the biomass yield and consequently Ni phytoextraction yield of A. murale. This infection could be a potential threat to the use of A. murale for Ni agromining.


Alyssum murale Biomass Metal accumulation Parasitic plant Phytoextraction yields 



We would like to acknowledge the technical team of “Laboratoire Sols et Environnement”, Nancy, France. The authors also wish to thank Prof. Dr. Alfred Mullaj for help with identifying the sampling area of Orobanche nowackiana.


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Department, Faculty of Agronomy and EnvironmentAgricultural University of TiranaTiraneAlbania
  2. 2.Department of Botany, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of SofiaSofiaBulgaria
  3. 3.Laboratoire Sols et EnvironnementUniversité de Lorraine-INRAVandoeuvre-Lès-Nancy CedexFrance
  4. 4.Department of Biology, Faculty of Natural ScienceUniversity of TiranaTiraneAlbania
  5. 5.Department of Economy and Agrarian Policy, Faculty of Economy and AgribusinessAgricultural University of TiranaTiraneAlbania
  6. 6.Palmerston NorthNew Zealand

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