Root herbivores are notoriously difficult to study, as they feed hidden in the soil. However, root herbivores may be traced by analyzing specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are produced by damaged roots. These VOCs not only support parasitoids in the localization of their host, but also may help scientists study belowground plant-herbivore interactions. Herbivore-induced VOCs are usually analyzed by gas-chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), but with this off-line method, the gases of interest need to be preconcentrated, and destructive sampling is required to assess the level of damage to the roots. In contrast to this, proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) is a very sensitive on-line, non-invasive method. PTR-MS already has been successfully applied to analyze VOCs produced by aboveground (infested) plant parts. In this review, we provide a brief overview of PTR-MS and illustrate how this technology can be applied to detect specific root-herbivore induced VOCs from Brassica plants. We also specify the advantages and disadvantages of PTR-MS analyses and new technological developments to overcome their limitations.
Chemical ecology; Root herbivory; Trace gas analysis; Induced indirect defense; Mass spectrometry; Volatile organic compound (VOC)
Plants attacked by herbivorous insects emit volatile organic compounds that are used by natural enemies to locate their host or prey. The composition of the blend is often complex and specific. It may vary qualitatively and quantitatively according to plant and herbivore species, thus providing specific information for carnivorous arthropods. Most studies have focused on simple interactions that involve one species per trophic level, and typically have investigated the aboveground parts of plants. These investigations need to be extended to more complex networks that involve multiple herbivory above- and belowground. A previous study examined whether the presence of the leaf herbivore Pieris brassicae on turnip plants (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa) influences the response of Trybliographa rapae, a specialist parasitoid of the root feeder Delia radicum. It showed that the parasitoid was not attracted by volatiles emitted by plants under simultaneous attack. Here, we analyzed differences in the herbivore induced plant volatile (HIPV) mixtures that emanate from such infested plants by using Orthogonal Partial Least Squares-Discriminant Analysis (OPLS-DA). This multivariate model focuses on the differences between odor blends, and highlights the relative importance of each compound in an HIPV blend. Dual infestation resulted in several HIPVs that were present in both isolated infestation types. However, HIPVs collected from simultaneously infested plants were not the simple combination of volatiles from isolated forms of above- and belowground herbivory. Only a few specific compounds characterized the odor blend of each type of damaged plant. Indeed, some compounds were specifically induced by root herbivory (4-methyltridecane and salicylaldehyde) or shoot herbivory (methylsalicylate), whereas hexylacetate, a green leaf volatile, was specifically induced after dual herbivory. It remains to be determined whether or not these minor quantitative variations, within the background of more commonly induced odors, are involved in the reduced attraction of the root feeder’s parasitoid. The mechanisms involved in the specific modification of the odor blends emitted by dual infested turnip plants are discussed in the light of interferences between biosynthetic pathways linked to plant responses to shoot or root herbivory.
Plant–insect interactions; Multiple herbivory; Volatile organic compounds; Parasitoid; Trybliographa rapae; Delia radicum; Pieris brassicae; Brassicaceae
Plants produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in response to herbivore attack, and these VOCs can be used by parasitoids of the herbivore as host location cues. We investigated the behavioural responses of the parasitoid Cotesia vestalis to VOCs from a plant–herbivore complex consisting of cabbage plants (Brassica oleracea) and the parasitoids host caterpillar, Plutella xylostella. A Y-tube olfactometer was used to compare the parasitoids' responses to VOCs produced as a result of different levels of attack by the caterpillar and equivalent levels of mechanical damage. Headspace VOC production by these plant treatments was examined using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Cotesia vestalis were able to exploit quantitative and qualitative differences in volatile emissions, from the plant–herbivore complex, produced as a result of different numbers of herbivores feeding. Cotesia vestalis showed a preference for plants with more herbivores and herbivore damage, but did not distinguish between different levels of mechanical damage. Volatile profiles of plants with different levels of herbivores/herbivore damage could also be separated by canonical discriminant analyses. Analyses revealed a number of compounds whose emission increased significantly with herbivore load, and these VOCs may be particularly good indicators of herbivore number, as the parasitoid processes cues from its external environment.
herbivore-induced plant volatiles; Hymenoptera; Lepidoptera; parasitoid host location; tritrophic; volatile organic compounds
The majority of studies exploring interactions between above- and below-ground biota have been focused on the effects of root-associated organisms on foliar herbivorous insects. This study examined the effects of foliar herbivory by Pieris brassicae L. (Lepidoptera: Pieridae) on the performance of the root herbivore Delia radicum L. (Diptera: Anthomyiidae) and its parasitoid Trybliographa rapae (Westwood) (Hymenoptera: Figitidae), mediated through a shared host plant Brassica nigra L. (Brassicaceae). In the presence of foliar herbivory, the survival of D. radicum and T. rapae decreased significantly by more than 50%. In addition, newly emerged adults of both root herbivores and parasitoids were significantly smaller on plants that had been exposed to foliar herbivory than on control plants. To determine what factor(s) may have accounted for the observed results, we examined the effects of foliar herbivory on root quantity and quality. No significant differences in root biomass were found between plants with and without shoot herbivore damage. Moreover, concentrations of nitrogen in root tissues were also unaffected by shoot damage by P. brassicae larvae. However, higher levels of indole glucosinolates were measured in roots of plants exposed to foliar herbivory, suggesting that the development of the root herbivore and its parasitoid may be, at least partly, negatively affected by increased levels of these allelochemicals in root tissues. Our results show that foliar herbivores can affect the development not only of root-feeding insects but also their natural enemies. We argue that such indirect interactions between above- and below-ground biota may play an important role in the structuring and functioning of communities.
Above-/below-ground interactions; Delia radicum; Glucosinolates; Plant–insect interactions; Trybliographa rapae
Biogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) serve as signals mediating information between plants and their higher trophic level beneficials, such as parasitoids and predators of herbivores. We recently demonstrated with oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) plants, herbivorous diamond-back moth (Plutella xylostella L. (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae)) larvae and Cotesia vestalis (Haliday) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) parasitoids that atmospheric pollution, i.e., elevated ozone (O3), can disturb attraction of natural enemies by plant-emitted host-induced volatile cues. Additionally, we found that the degree of herbivore feeding damage is an important contributor to this O3 interference. Low feeding damage in herbivore-resistant plants was sufficient to attract C. vestalis females to host-damaged plants under ambient air, but this tritrophic signaling turned non-functional in the combination of low feeding damage and high O3 concentration. Here we present some additional data of how climate change factors may modify feeding patterns and growth of herbivores. We further discuss how the degree of herbivore feeding damage and the tritrophic signaling interaction relaying on the herbivore-induced VOCs from attacked plants might change through direct and indirect effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide, temperature and O3.
volatile organic compounds; carbon dioxide; ozone; herbivore feeding; tritrophic interactions; oilseed rape; Lepidoptera; parasitoids; climate change
Plants under attack by aboveground herbivores emit complex blends of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Specific compounds in these blends are used by parasitic wasps to find their hosts. Belowground induction causes shifts in the composition of aboveground induced VOC blends, which affect the preference of parasitic wasps. To identify which of the many volatiles in the complex VOC blends may explain parasitoid preference poses a challenge to ecologists. Here, we present a case study in which we use a novel bioinformatics approach to identify biologically relevant differences between VOC blends of feral cabbage (Brassica oleracea L.). The plants were induced aboveground or belowground with jasmonic acid (JA) and shoot feeding caterpillars (Pieris brassicae or P. rapae). We used Partial Least Squares—Discriminant Analysis (PLSDA) to integrate and visualize the relation between plant-emitted VOCs and the preference of female Cotesia glomerata. Overall, female wasps preferred JA-induced plants over controls, but they strongly preferred aboveground JA-induced plants over belowground JA-induced plants. PLSDA revealed that the emission of several monoterpenes was enhanced similarly in all JA-treated plants, whereas homoterpenes and sesquiterpenes increased exclusively in aboveground JA-induced plants. Wasps may use the ratio between these two classes of terpenes to discriminate between aboveground and belowground induced plants. Additionally, it shows that aboveground applied JA induces different VOC biosynthetic pathways than JA applied to the root. Our bioinformatic approach, thus, successfully identified which VOCs matched the preferences of the wasps in the various choice tests. Additionally, the analysis generated novel hypotheses about the role of JA as a signaling compound in aboveground and belowground induced responses in plants.
Aboveground-belowground interactions; Volatile organic compounds; Indirect defenses; Multivariate analysis; Terpenes; Jasmonic acid; Parasitoid preference; PLSDA
A method for analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from microbial cultures was established using proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS). A newly developed sampling system was coupled to a PTR-MS instrument to allow on-line monitoring of VOCs in the dynamic headspaces of microbial cultures. The novel PTR-MS method was evaluated for four reference organisms: Escherichia coli, Shigella flexneri, Salmonella enterica, and Candida tropicalis. Headspace VOCs in sampling bottles containing actively growing cultures and uninoculated culture medium controls were sequentially analyzed by PTR-MS. Characteristic marker ions were found for certain microbial cultures: C. tropicalis could be identified by several unique markers compared with the other three organisms, and E. coli and S. enterica were distinguishable from each other and from S. flexneri by specific marker ions, demonstrating the potential of this method to differentiate between even closely related microorganisms. Although the temporal profiles of some VOCs were similar to the growth dynamics of the microbial cultures, most VOCs showed a different temporal profile, characterized by constant or decreasing VOC levels or by single or multiple peaks over 24 h of incubation. These findings strongly indicate that the temporal evolution of VOC emissions during growth must be considered if characterization or differentiation based on microbial VOC emissions is attempted. Our study may help to establish the analysis of VOCs by on-line PTR-MS as a routine method in microbiology and as a tool for monitoring environmental and biotechnological processes.
Control of Delia radicum (cabbage maggot) in field collards (Brassica oleracea) was compared after one or two applications of entomopathogenic nematodes, Steinernema carpocapsae (All strain) and Heterorhabditis bacterophora (HP88 strain), a single application of granular chlorpyrifos, and a water-only treatment. Nematodes were applied with a sprayer during the egg stage of first-generation D. radicum, and chlorpyrifos was hand placed around collard stems during the same period. A second nematode application was made 10 days later. Chlorpyrifos treatment resulted in fewer puparia per plant, less root damage and higher yield than all other treatments, including the control. Collard yield from nematode-treated beds did not differ from controls. These data indicate that, under these field conditions, the species or strains of entomopathogenic nematodes tested did not reduce the number of active cabbage maggots, nor did they prevent collard root damage.
biological control; cabbage maggot; chlorpyrifos; collards; Delia radicum; entomopathogenic nematode; Heterorhabditis bacteriophora; nematode; Steinernema carpocapsae
Proton transfer reaction-time of flight (PTR-TOF) mass spectrometry was used to
improve detection of biogenic volatiles organic compounds (BVOCs) induced by
leaf wounding and darkening. PTR-TOF measurements unambiguously captured the
kinetic of the large emissions of green leaf volatiles (GLVs) and acetaldehyde
after wounding and darkening. GLVs emission correlated with the extent of
wounding, thus confirming to be an excellent indicator of mechanical damage.
Transient emissions of methanol, C5 compounds and isoprene from plant species
that do not emit isoprene constitutively were also detected after wounding. In
the strong isoprene-emitter Populus alba, light-dependent
isoprene emission was sustained and even enhanced for hours after photosynthesis
inhibition due to leaf cutting. Thus isoprene emission can uncouple from
photosynthesis and may occur even after cutting leaves or branches, e.g., by
agricultural practices or because of abiotic and biotic stresses. This
observation may have important implications for assessments of isoprene sources
and budget in the atmosphere, and consequences for tropospheric chemistry.
Plants under herbivore attack emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can serve as foraging cues for natural enemies. Adult females of Lepidoptera, when foraging for host plants to deposit eggs, are commonly repelled by herbivore-induced VOCs, probably to avoid competition and natural enemies. Their larval stages, on the other hand, have been shown to be attracted to inducible VOCs. We speculate that this contradicting behavior of lepidopteran larvae is due to a need to quickly find a new suitable host plant if they have fallen to the ground. However, once they are on a plant they might avoid the sites with fresh damage to limit competition and risk of cannibalism by conspecifics, as well as exposure to natural enemies. To test this we studied the effect of herbivore-induced VOCs on the attraction of larvae of the moth Spodoptera littoralis and on their feeding behavior. The experiments further considered the importance of previous feeding experience on the responses of the larvae. It was confirmed that herbivore-induced VOCs emitted by maize plants are attractive to the larvae, but exposure to the volatiles decreased the growth rate of caterpillars at early developmental stages. Larvae that had fed on maize previously were more attracted by VOCs of induced maize than larvae that had fed on artificial diet. At relatively high concentrations synthetic green leaf volatiles, indicative of fresh damage, also negatively affected the growth rate of caterpillars, but not at low concentrations. In all cases, feeding by the later stages of the larvae was not affected by the VOCs. The results are discussed in the context of larval foraging behavior under natural conditions, where there may be a trade-off between using available host plant signals and avoiding competitors and natural enemies.
Spodoptera littoralis; green leaf volatiles; maize; larval foraging behavior; host plant suitability
Induced plant defence in response to phytophagous insects is a well described phenomenon. However, so far little is known about the effect of induced plant responses on subsequently colonizing herbivores in the field. Broccoli plants were induced in the belowground compartment using (i) infestation by the root-herbivore Delia radicum, (ii) root application of jasmonic acid (JA) or (iii) root application of salicylic acid (SA). The abundance of D. radicum and six aboveground herbivores displaying contrasting levels of host specialization were surveyed for 5 weeks. Our study showed that the response of herbivores was found to differ from one another, depending on the herbivore species, its degree of specialization and the root treatment. The abundance of the root herbivore D. radicum and particularly the number of emerging adults was decreased by both phytohormone treatments, while the number of D. radicum eggs was increased on conspecific infested plants. The root infestation exhibited moderate effects on the aboveground community. The abundance of the aphid Brevicoryne brassicae was strongly increased on D. radicum infested plants, but the other species were not impacted. Root hormone applications exhibited a strong effect on the abundance of specialist foliar herbivores. A higher number of B. brassicae and Pieris brassicae and a lower number of Plutella xylostella were found on JA treated plants. On SA treated plants we observed a decrease of the abundance of B. brassicae, Pi. rapae, and P. xylostella. Surprisingly, generalist species, Mamestra brassicae and Myzus persicae were not affected by root induction treatments. Finally, root treatments had no significant effect on either glucosinolate (GLS) profiles of the heads or on plant quality parameters. These results are discussed from the perspective of below- aboveground interactions and adaptations of phytophagous insects to induced plant responses according to their trophic specialization level.
plant-mediated above-belowground interactions; induced plant defence; Brassica spp; root herbivory; phytohormones
Symbiosis with mycorrhizal fungi substantially impacts secondary metabolism and defensive traits of colonised plants. In the present study, we investigated the influence of mycorrhization (Glomus intraradices) on inducible indirect defences against herbivores using the model legume Medicago truncatula. Volatile emission by mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plants was measured in reaction to damage inflicted by Spodoptera spp. and compared to the basal levels of volatile emission by plants of two different cultivars. Emitted volatiles were recorded using closed-loop stripping and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The documented volatile patterns were evaluated using multidimensional scaling to visualise patterns and stepwise linear discriminant analysis to distinguish volatile blends of plants with distinct physiological status and genetic background. Volatile blends emitted by different cultivars of M. truncatula prove to be clearly distinct, whereas mycorrhization only slightly influenced herbivore-induced volatile emissions. Still, the observed differences were sufficient to create classification rules to distinguish mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plants by the volatiles emitted. Moreover, the effect of mycorrhization turned out to be opposed in the two cultivars examined. Root symbionts thus seem to alter indirect inducible defences of M. truncatula against insect herbivores. The impact of this effect strongly depends on the genetic background of the plant and, hence, in part explains the highly contradictory results on tripartite interactions gathered to date.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00572-009-0264-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Cultivars; Glomus; Herbivory; Medicago truncatula; Volatile emission
The control of insect pests using parasitoids and carnivores has been successfully applied in protected cropping systems, orchards and forestry. Their success in annual field crops has been more limited due largely to the difficulties of attracting and maintaining a sufficient density of parasitoids in the crop before the levls of the insect herbivores become economically damaging. Parasitoids are known to be attracted to host-plant volatiles; thus, manipulating the host-plant chemistry may provide a means of enhancing the attraction of parasitoids to their prey. In this study we describe the differential attraction of the braconid wasp Diaeretiella rapae to two near-isogenic lines of Brassica oleracea which differ in a gene which alters the chemical structure of the isothiocyanates which are emitted following tissue damage. We demonstrate that, by enhancing the production of but-3-enyl isothiocyanate in B. oleracea and Brassica napus (oilseed rape), we can increase the attraction of D. rapae to these plants under standard field conditions.
Parasitic wasps that develop inside herbivorous hosts alter the volatiles produced by plants in response to the damage, thus giving away the presence of the parasitoid larvae to their hyperparasitoid enemies.
Plants respond to herbivory with the emission of induced plant volatiles. These volatiles may attract parasitic wasps (parasitoids) that attack the herbivores. Although in this sense the emission of volatiles has been hypothesized to be beneficial to the plant, it is still debated whether this is also the case under natural conditions because other organisms such as herbivores also respond to the emitted volatiles. One important group of organisms, the enemies of parasitoids, hyperparasitoids, has not been included in this debate because little is known about their foraging behaviour. Here, we address whether hyperparasitoids use herbivore-induced plant volatiles to locate their host. We show that hyperparasitoids find their victims through herbivore-induced plant volatiles emitted in response to attack by caterpillars that in turn had been parasitized by primary parasitoids. Moreover, only one of two species of parasitoids affected herbivore-induced plant volatiles resulting in the attraction of more hyperparasitoids than volatiles from plants damaged by healthy caterpillars. This resulted in higher levels of hyperparasitism of the parasitoid that indirectly gave away its presence through its effect on plant odours induced by its caterpillar host. Here, we provide evidence for a role of compounds in the oral secretion of parasitized caterpillars that induce these changes in plant volatile emission. Our results demonstrate that the effects of herbivore-induced plant volatiles should be placed in a community-wide perspective that includes species in the fourth trophic level to improve our understanding of the ecological functions of volatile release by plants. Furthermore, these findings suggest that the impact of species in the fourth trophic level should also be considered when developing Integrated Pest Management strategies aimed at optimizing the control of insect pests using parasitoids.
In nature, plants often release volatiles in response to damage by herbivores (e.g., by caterpillars), and these can indirectly help defend the plants. Indeed, it is well documented that volatiles can recruit the natural enemies of herbivores, such as predators and parasitoid wasps, whose offspring feed on and develop within their caterpillar hosts. However, such induced plant odours can also be detected by other organisms. One important group of organisms, hyperparasitoids, the enemies of the parasitoids that indirectly benefit the plants, have not been included in this trophic web because so little is known about their foraging behaviour. Here, using a combination of laboratory and field experiments, we demonstrate that hyperparasitoid wasps also take advantage of the odours that plants produce in response to the feeding by caterpillars. The larvae of parasitic wasps developing inside the caterpillar alter the composition of the oral secretions of their herbivorous host and thereby affect the cocktail of volatiles the plant produces. The hyperparasitoids on the lookout for their parasitoid prey can preferentially detect infected caterpillars, although not all parasitoid wasps gave away their presence through this host–plant interaction. We conclude that herbivore-induced plant volatiles can affect the interaction among parasitoids and their enemies and thereby may reduce the indirect defence accrued for the plant.
Plants release volatile chemicals upon attack by herbivorous arthropods. They do so commonly in a dose-dependent manner: the more herbivores, the more volatiles released. The volatiles attract predatory arthropods and the amount determines the probability of predator response. We show that seedlings of a cabbage variety (Brassica oleracea var. capitata, cv Shikidori) also show such a response to the density of cabbage white (Pieris rapae) larvae and attract more (naive) parasitoids (Cotesia glomerata) when there are more herbivores on the plant. However, when attacked by diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) larvae, seedlings of the same variety (cv Shikidori) release volatiles, the total amount of which is high and constant and thus independent of caterpillar density, and naive parasitoids (Cotesia vestalis) of diamondback moth larvae fail to discriminate herbivore-rich from herbivore-poor plants. In contrast, seedlings of another cabbage variety of B. oleracea (var. acephala: kale) respond in a dose-dependent manner to the density of diamondback moth larvae and attract more parasitoids when there are more herbivores. Assuming these responses of the cabbage cultivars reflect behaviour of at least some genotypes of wild plants, we provide arguments why the behaviour of kale (B. oleracea var acephala) is best interpreted as an honest signaling strategy and that of cabbage cv Shikidori (B. oleracea var capitata) as a “cry wolf” signaling strategy, implying a conflict of interest between the plant and the enemies of its herbivores: the plant profits from being visited by the herbivore's enemies, but the latter would be better off by visiting other plants with more herbivores. If so, evolutionary theory on alarm signaling predicts consequences of major interest to students of plant protection, tritrophic systems and communication alike.
Multitrophic interactions are likely to be altered by climate change but there is little empirical evidence relating the responses of herbivores and parasitoids to abiotic factors. Here we investigated the effects of drought on an above/below-ground system comprising a generalist and a specialist aphid species (foliar herbivores), their parasitoids, and a dipteran species (root herbivore).We tested the hypotheses that: (1) high levels of drought stress and below-ground herbivory interact to reduce the performance of parasitoids developing in aphids; (2) drought stress and root herbivory change the profile of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) emitted by the host plant; (3) parasitoids avoid ovipositing in aphids feeding on plants under drought stress and root herbivory. We examined the effect of drought, with and without root herbivory, on the olfactory response of parasitoids (preference), plant volatile emissions, parasitism success (performance), and the effect of drought on root herbivory. Under drought, percentage parasitism of aphids was reduced by about 40–55% compared with well watered plants. There was a significant interaction between drought and root herbivory on the efficacy of the two parasitoid species, drought stress partially reversing the negative effect of root herbivory on percent parasitism. In the absence of drought, root herbivory significantly reduced the performance (e.g. fecundity) of both parasitoid species developing in foliar herbivores. Plant emissions of VOCs were reduced by drought and root herbivores, and in olfactometer experiments parasitoids preferred the odour from well-watered plants compared with other treatments. The present work demonstrates that drought stress can change the outcome of interactions between herbivores feeding above- and below-ground and their parasitoids, mediated by changes in the chemical signals from plants to parasitoids. This provides a new insight into how the structure of terrestrial communities may be affected by drought.
The evolution of the microbial spoilage population for air- and vacuum-packaged meat (beef and pork) stored at 4°C was investigated over 11 days. We monitored the viable counts (mesophilic total aerobic bacteria, Pseudomonas spp., Enterobacteriaceae, lactic acid bacteria, and Enterococcus spp.) by the microbiological standard technique and by measuring the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with the recently developed proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry system. Storage time, packaging type, and meat type had statistically significant (P < 0.05) effects on the development of the bacterial numbers. The concentrations of many of the measured VOCs, e.g., sulfur compounds, largely increased over the storage time. We also observed a large difference in the emissions between vacuum- and air-packaged meat. We found statistically significant strong correlations (up to 99%) between some of the VOCs and the bacterial contamination. The concentrations of these VOCs increased linearly with the bacterial numbers. This study is a first step toward replacing the time-consuming plate counting by fast headspace air measurements, where the bacterial spoilage can be determined within minutes instead of days.
The behavior of Heterorhabditis zealandica Poinar strain T327 was investigated in the presence of the cabbage maggot, Delia radicum L., and plants that are susceptible to D. radicum infestation. Newly formed puparia and freeze-killed third instar larvae were attractive to infective nematodes. Newly harvested infective nematodes did not respond to the puparia, whereas 1-month-old and 2-month-old nematodes reached the insect targets within 15 minutes. There were no significant differences in the ability of similar-sized, third instar larval D. radicum and Galleria mellonella L., the greater wax moth, to attract nematodes. There was a tendency for a greater number of insects to attract more nematodes. The roots of ball cabbage and radish were equally attractive to nematodes, but rutabaga roots neither attracted nor repelled the nematodes. Germinated seeds of radish attracted nematodes, and there was a tendency for more numerous germinated seeds to attract more nematodes.
biological control; chemoattraction; Heterorhabditis zealandica; host-parasite interaction; nematode
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in cut onions (Allium cepa L.) were continuously measured by PTR-MS during the first 120 min after cutting. The headspace composition changed rapidly due to the very reactive volatile sulfurous compounds emitted from onion tissue after cell disruption. Mass spectral signals corresponding to propanethial S-oxide (the lachrymatory factor) and breakdown products of this compound dominated 0–10 min after cutting. Subsequently, propanethiol and dipropyl disulfide predominantly appeared, together with traces of thiosulfinates. The concentrations of these compounds reached a maximum at 60 min after cutting. Propanethiol was present in highest concentrations and had an odor activity value 20 times higher than dipropyl disulfide. Thus, propanethiol is suggested to be the main source of the characteristic onion odor. Monitoring the rapid changes of VOCs in the headspace of cut onion necessitates a high time resolution, and PTR-MS is demonstrated to be a very suitable method for monitoring the headspace of freshly cut onions directly after cutting without extraction or pre-concentration.
PTR-MS; real time monitoring; volatile organic compounds; Allium cepa L
Using sensitive and real-time detection of volatiles from plants with state-of-the-art laser based- and mass spectrometry-based methods many, hypotheses can be tested, revealing the role of the key elements in signalling and action mechanisms in plants.
Trace gas monitoring plays an important role in many areas of life sciences ranging from agrotechnology, microbiology, molecular biology, physiology, and phytopathology. In plants, many processes can be followed by their low-concentration gas emission, for compounds such as ethylene, nitric oxide, ethanol or other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). For this, numerous gas-sensing devices are currently available based on various methods. Among them are the online trace gas detection methods; these have attracted much interest in recent years. Laser-based infrared spectroscopy and proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry are the two most widely used methods, thanks to their high sensitivity at the single part per billion level and their response time of seconds. This paper starts with a short description of each method and presents performances within a wide variety of biological applications. Using these methods, the dynamics of trace gases for ethylene, nitric oxide and other VOCs released by plants under different conditions are recorded and analysed under natural conditions. In this way many hypotheses can be tested, revealing the role of the key elements in signalling and action mechanisms in plants.
Ethylene; laser-based detection; nitric oxide; plant volatiles; proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry; real-time emission; trace gas detection; volatile organic compounds
To understand the ecological role of secondary plant compounds in host location by phytophagous insects it is important to consider attraction at different scales in natural populations. The cabbage seed weevil, Ceutorhynchus assimilis, which lays eggs in pods of crucifers where the larvae feed on seed, is attracted to purified extracts of specific glucosinolate-derived volatiles. We considered the possibility that C. assimilis adults are attracted to and preferentially attack patches of plants and/or individual plants producing these volatiles. Using discrete natural populations of Brassica oleracea and Brassica nigra, we found that oviposition was highest in populations of B. oleracea producing high amounts of 3-butenylglucosinolate. No links were found between the other glucosinolates, 2-propenylglucosinolate, 2-hydroxy-3-butenylglucosinolate, 1-indolylmethylglucosinolate or 1-methoxy-3-indolylmethylglucosinolate, and oviposition in B. oleracea. B. nigra, which contains only 2-propenylglucosinolate, was not attacked by C. assimilis. Within populations of B. oleracea, neither oviposition nor the number of seeds eaten was related to the glucosinolate profiles of individual plants. We suggest that C. assimilis adults use 3-butenylglucosinolate-derived volatiles to locate host populations, whereas other cues determine oviposition on individual plants. The consequences of these results for natural selection of glucosinolate phenotypes are discussed.
Reduced sulfur compounds are considered to be important odorants from pig production due to their low odor threshold values and low solubility in slurry. The objective of the present study was to investigate the use of a portable method with a single silica gel column for trapping/separation coupled with chemiluminescence detection (SCTS-CL) for measurement of methanethiol and dimethyl sulfide in sample air from pig production. Proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) was used to evaluate the trapping/separation. The silica gel column used for the SCTS-CL efficiently collected hydrogen sulfide, methanethiol and dimethyl sulfide. The measurement of methanethiol by SCTS-CL was clearly interfered by the high concentration of hydrogen sulfide found in pig production, and a removal of hydrogen sulfide was necessary to obtain reliable results. Air samples taken from a facility with growing-finishing pigs were analyzed by SCTS-CL, PTR-MS, and a gas chromatograph with sulfur chemiluminescence detection (GC-SCD) to evaluate the SCTS-CL. The difference between the concentrations of methanethiol and dimethyl sulfide measured with SCTS-CL, PTR-MS, and GC-SCD was below 10%. In conclusion, the SCTS-CL is a portable and low-cost alternative to the commercial methods that can be used to measure methanethiol and dimethyl sulfide in sample air from pig production.
Plants release volatiles induced by herbivore feeding that may affect the diversity and composition of plant-associated arthropod communities. However, the specificity and role of plant volatiles induced during the early phase of attack, i.e. egg deposition by herbivorous insects, and their consequences on insects of different trophic levels remain poorly explored. In olfactometer and wind tunnel set-ups, we investigated behavioural responses of a specialist cabbage butterfly (Pieris brassicae) and two of its parasitic wasps (Trichogramma brassicae and Cotesia glomerata) to volatiles of a wild crucifer (Brassica nigra) induced by oviposition of the specialist butterfly and an additional generalist moth (Mamestra brassicae). Gravid butterflies were repelled by volatiles from plants induced by cabbage white butterfly eggs, probably as a means of avoiding competition, whereas both parasitic wasp species were attracted. In contrast, volatiles from plants induced by eggs of the generalist moth did neither repel nor attract any of the tested community members. Analysis of the plant’s volatile metabolomic profile by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and the structure of the plant-egg interface by scanning electron microscopy confirmed that the plant responds differently to egg deposition by the two lepidopteran species. Our findings imply that prior to actual feeding damage, egg deposition can induce specific plant responses that significantly influence various members of higher trophic levels.
Volatile hydrocarbon production by Ascocoryne sacroides was studied over its growth cycle. Gas-phase compounds were measured continuously with a proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) and at distinct time points with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) using head space solid phase microextraction (SPME). The PTR-MS ion signal permitted temporal resolution of the volatile production while the SPME results revealed distinct compound identities. The quantitative PTR-MS results showed the volatile production was dominated by ethanol and acetaldehyde, while the concentration of the remainder of volatiles consistently reached 2,000 ppbv. The measurement of alcohols from the fungal culture by the two techniques correlated well. Notable compounds of fuel interest included nonanal, 1-octen-3-ol, 1-butanol, 3-methyl- and benzaldehyde. Abiotic comparison of the two techniques demonstrated SPME fiber bias toward higher molecular weight compounds, making quantitative efforts with SPME impractical. Together, PTR-MS and SPME GC-MS were shown as valuable tools for characterizing volatile fuel compound production from microbiological sources.
Biofuel; Solid phase microextraction; Proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry; Volatile organic compounds; Fungal hydrocarbons; Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
Plants respond to herbivory through different defensive mechanisms. The induction of volatile emission is one of the important and immediate response of plants to herbivory. Herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) are involved in plant communication with natural enemies of the insect herbivores, neighboring plants, and different parts of the damaged plant. Release of a wide variety of HIPVs in response to herbivore damage and their role in plant-plant, plant-carnivore and intraplant communications represents a new facet of the complex interactions among different trophic levels. HIPVs are released from leaves, flowers, and fruits into the atmosphere or into the soil from roots in response to herbivore attack. Moreover, HIPVs act as feeding and/or oviposition deterrents to insect pests. HIPVs also mediate the interactions between the plants and the microorganisms. This review presents an overview of HIPVs emitted by plants, their role in plant defense against herbivores and their implications for pest management.
herbivory; indirect defense; induced resistance; plant defense; volatiles