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Journal Article

Oviposition by a moth suppresses constitutive and herbivore-induced plant volatiles in maize

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Peñaflor, M., Erb, M., Robert, C., LA, M., Werneburg, A., Dossi, F., et al. (2011). Oviposition by a moth suppresses constitutive and herbivore-induced plant volatiles in maize. Planta, 234(1), 207-215. doi:10.1007/s00425-011-1409-9.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0011-57F3-3
Plant volatiles function as important signals for herbivores, parasitoids, predators, and neighboring plants. Herbivore attack can dramatically increase plant volatile emissions in many species. However, plants do not only react to herbivore-inflicted damage, but also already start adjusting their metabolism upon egg deposition by insects. Several studies have found evidence that egg deposition itself can induce the release of volatiles, but little is known about the effects of oviposition on the volatiles released in response to subsequent herbivory. To study this we measured the effect of oviposition by Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) moths on constitutive and herbivore-induced volatiles in maize (Zea mays L.). Results demonstrate that egg deposition reduces the constitutive emission of volatiles and suppresses the typical burst of inducible volatiles following mechanical damage and application of caterpillar regurgitant, a treatment that mimics herbivory. We discuss the possible mechanisms responsible for reducing the plant’s signaling capacity triggered by S. frugiperda oviposition and how suppression of volatile organic compounds can influence the interaction between the plant, the herbivore, and other organisms in its environment. Future studies should consider oviposition as a potential modulator of plant responses to insect herbivores.