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slime flux[′slīm ‚fləks]
a disease of woody plants characterized by the exudation of slime from the trunks or branches. Slime flux destroys the cell membranes by gelatinizing and dissolving them. In most cases, the disease results from the penetration of injured plant tissues by pathogenic microorganisms, for example, fungi, bacteria, or algae. The initial injuries to the plant may be caused by frost cracks, damage by insect larvae, or wounds. Acting on live tissues, microorganisms stimulate further cell division and prevent wounds from healing. The spores of some tree-destroying fungi, that is, wound parasites responsible for the rotting of wood, frequently penetrate the xylem of branches and stems through nonhealing cracks of plants affected with slime flux.
The species composition of the causative agents of slime flux varies with the composition of the microflora in a given locality. The slime’s appearance and other properties vary with the plant species and the species of the causative agent. Many cases of slime flux in beech, oak, willow, and maple are characterized by the discharge of a foamy white fluid with an alcoholic odor; the slime is fed upon by the fungi Endomyces magnusii and Sac-charomyces ludwigii and by the alga Leconostoc lagerhemii. The disease in elm; smooth-leaved elm, some poplar species, and chestnut may be characterized by a thick malodorous yellow-brown slime, which is fed upon by the bacterium Micrococcus dendroporthos, by Torula monilioides and certain other fungi, and by some algae. Red slime may be discharged by birch, beech, and elm; certain bacteria and fungi feed upon the discharge. In birch, hornbeam, and maple a milky white or yellowish slime may be observed; the disease is maintained by certain fungi and bacteria. Slime flux in linden is characterized by the exudation of a thick yellow slime, which has a sharp medicinal odor and is fed upon by the fungus Fusarium monschatum.
Slime flux generally develops in old trees. Control efforts are aimed at eliminating the causes of the disease.
REFERENCEZhuravlev, I. I., and D. V. Sokolov. Lesnaia fitopatologiia. Moscow, 1969.
I. I. ZHURAVLEV