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Green leaf volatiles increase plant fitness via biocontrol
Date:10/25/2012

transgenic GLV-deficient and PI-deficient wild tobacco plants in the plants' native habitat, Utah, USA. They were able to demonstrate that GLV emission not only reduced the number of Manduca caterpillars and eggs on plants, but also increased flower and bud production of plants attacked by Manduca. On the other hand, no significant correlation between the formation of PIs and an increase in the number of buds or flowers was found. However, the scientists hypothesized that PIs might still weaken the caterpillars; as a consequence, the malnourished larvae might be less able to fight back against predators. This in turn could have an indirect, positive effect on flower production. To test this assumption, the researchers conducted an interesting experiment: They put Manduca larvae on either wild-type or PI-deficient plants, let them feed for two days, and subsequently imitated the attack of predatory bugs using pins and forceps. Caterpillars that had been feeding on wild-type leaves and ingesting PIs only sluggishly responded to the attack, whereas larvae that had been feeding on PI-free leaves vigorously defended themselves against the "human" assault. (Please watch the corresponding short movies at http://www.ice.mpg.de/ext/735.html)

Reduction of pesticide use

Bio-organic farming is an agricultural approach which uses biological pest control as an alternative to toxic synthetic insecticides, for example employing parasitic wasps against the dangerous larvae of the European corn borer. The results described here show that GLVs might be used to increase the effectiveness of such biological control. Like farmers using parasitic wasps, wild tobacco plants "use" Geocoris predators, attracting them with GLVs to predate Manduca herbivores. GLVs have been shown to attract other predators and parasitoids, and are emitted by all crop plants studied. "Su
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Contact: Ian T. Baldwin
baldwin@ice.mpg.de
49-364-157-1101
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3 4

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