Feeding by herbivorous insects may change photosynthetic activity of host plants. We studied how feeding and oviposition by herbivorous stink bugs, Murgantia histrionica and Nezara viridula (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae), affect photosynthetic parameters of Brassica oleracea (savoy cabbage) and Phaseolus vulgaris (French bean). First, we measured photosynthetic gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence imaging, and emission of induced volatile organic compounds (VOC) immediately after feeding and during a post-feeding period. Photosynthesis decreased rapidly and substantially in B. oleracea and P. vulgaris infested by feeding bugs. Stomatal conductance did not decrease proportionally with photosynthesis; instead, inhibition of photosynthesis likely was due to a reduced diffusion of CO2 in the mesophyll. We also measured the impact of oviposition per se and oviposition associated with feeding on photosynthetic parameters. A surprisingly large inhibition of photosynthesis was detected in cabbage leaves in response to oviposition by M. histrionica, even when oviposition was not associated with feeding activity. High resolution chlorophyll fluorescence imaging revealed that the damage to photochemistry caused by feeding and oviposition was restricted to the attacked areas. By contrast, the photochemical yield increased temporarily in the unaffected areas of the attacked leaves, indicating the onset of a compensatory response. Measurement of volatile organic compounds (VOC) revealed that feeding-damaged plants did not emit detectable amounts of VOC, indicating cellular damage (methanol and green leaf volatiles). However, feeding by M. histrionica induced emission of mono- and sesquiterpenes in savoy cabbage leaves. The different time-course of the induction of these two classes of terpenes may reflect the induction of two different biosynthetic pathways and indicate different roles of these terpenoids in tritrophic interactions.
|Numero di pagine||13|
|Rivista||Journal of Chemical Ecology|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2010|
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