SUMMARY: Parasitic development on rye of the ergots of two strains of , only one of which produced alkaloid, was followed during each of two successive summers. Levels of carbohydrate, protein, lipid, nucleic acid, amino acid, phosphate, malate and alkaloid in the tissues were measured. Changes in the levels of these metabolites gave a clear indication of the transition from sphacelial to sclerotial growth form in both strains and the concentrations of the soluble components amongst these metabolites were also found to be sensitive to climatic conditions. These studies suggest that the synthesis of alkaloid was not accompanied or preceded by any significant changes in the pattern of identified metabolites, although the accumulation of an unidentified amino acid was correlated closely with alkaloid synthesis. Comparison of sclerotial metabolism with that of developing rye seeds demonstrated the superior metabolic activity of the parasitic fungus and its ability preferentially to divert host plant nutrients at the expense of adjacent uninfected florets.


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