Recent advances in Broomrapes research

Maria Gevezova, Teodora Dekalska, Kiril Stoyanov, Tsveta Hristeva, Kaloyan Kostov, Rossitza Batchvarova, Iliya Denev
J. BioSci. Biotech   unpublished
Orobanchaceae (broomrapes) is a morphologically diverse family of predominantly herbaceous, parasitic plants. The majority of species are facultative or obligate root parasites that subsist on broad-leaf plants, thereby depleting them of nutrients, minerals and water. The taxonomy status of the family Orobanchaceae among other flowering plants is often subject of debate. They possess only a few morphological features suitable for taxonomy purposes and yet even they are quite changeable. The
more » ... changeable. The variability within the species is too high and hampers the attempts to create proper determination keys. During last two decades several molecular markers were used for reevaluate taxonomy, biodiversity and phylogenetic relationships within the family. Recent investigations supported by molecular taxonomy analyses have resulted in re-definition of Orobanchaceae family. According to this classification Orobanchaceae consists of 89 genera, containing 2061 species. On the Balkans the family Orobanchaceae is represented by 3 genera: Orobanche includes 25 species; Phelipanche comprises of 9 species and some putative hybrids; Diphelypaea occurs with single species, Diphelypaea boissieri, in Macedonia and Greece. Only a few recent studies based on modern methods took place during last decade. Their findings confirmed differences between Phelipanche and Orobanche genera, but raised new question about their internal structure. Several broomrape species parasitize important crops. They are widely spread in Bulgaria, Southern Europe, Russia, Middle East and Northern Africa. They cause losses in crop productivity estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars annually than affect the livelihoods of 100 million farmers. A wide variety of approaches have been explored to control broomrapes, but none have been found to be sufficiently effective and affordable. The new findings about their life cycle and the recent genomic project focused on sequences of Ph. aegyptiaca genome open new perspectives for management of the harmful broomrape species and for understanding of their biology and evolution as well. Extend of parasitism among flowering plants Non-photosynthetic flowering species that have lost their autotrophic properties of plants in favor of a parasitic lifestyle have evolved in at least 11 independent angiosperm lineages and account more than 1% of all angiosperm species (Cronquist, 1988). These species lack capacity to assimilate sufficient CO 2 amounts to sustain their growth or/and cannot