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Insects take a bigger bite out of plants in a higher CO2 world
Date:3/24/2008

ability to digest the leaves.

What we discovered is that leaves grown under high CO2 lose their ability to produce jasmonic acid, and that whole defense pathway is shut down, Delucia said. The leaves are no longer adequately defended.

The higher carbohydrate content of the leaves and the lack of chemical defenses allowed the adult insects to feast and live longer and produce more offspring.

This study demonstrates that global environmental change is multifaceted, Berenbaum said. The impact of elevated carbon dioxide on crippling the capacity of the plant to respond to insect damage is exacerbated by the presence of invasive insect pests in soybean fields. The Japanese beetle, as the name suggests, is a relatively recent arrival in Illinois soybean fields. It is causing considerable damage now but this study suggests that its ability to inflict damage will only increase over time.

The researchers, both of whom also are affiliated with the universitys Institute for Genomic Biology, will now seek to determine whether the same process occurs in other plants.


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Contact: Diana Yates
diya@uiuc.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

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