Above- and below- ground terpenoid aldehyde induction in cotton, Gossypium herbaceum, following root and leaf injury

T.M. Bezemer, R. Wagenaar, N.M. van Dam, W.H. van der Putten, F.L. Wackers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

115 Citations (Scopus)


Studies on induced defenses have predominantly focused on foliar induction by above-ground herbivores and pathogens. However, roots are attacked by as many if not more phytophages than shoots, so in reality plants are exposed to above- and below-ground attack. Here, we report effects of foliar and/or root damage on terpenoid aldehyde accumulation in cotton ( Gossypium herbaceum). Using HPLC, we analyzed concentrations of individual terpenoid aldehydes in foliage and root tissue. In undamaged plants, terpenoid aldehydes were concentrated in young immature main leaves. Concentrations in side leaves, branching from the main leaves, did not differ among leaf position. Above-ground feeding by Spodoptera exigua larvae on a mature leaf enhanced terpenoid concentrations in immature leaves but not in the damaged leaf. In particular, concentrations of hemigossypolone and the heliocides 1 and 4 were enhanced following herbivory. Root herbivory by wireworms (Agriotes lineatus) also resulted in an increase in terpenoid levels in the foliage. In contrast with foliar herbivory, both immature and mature leaves were induced. However, the level of induction after root herbivory was much lower compared to foliar herbivory. Plants exposed to root herbivory also had significantly higher levels of terpenoid aldehydes in root tissue, while no such effect was found following foliar herbivory. Plants exposed to both root and foliar herbivory appeared to induce primarily above-ground at the cost of below-ground defense. The implications for above- and below-ground Mutitrophic interactions are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-67
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • heliothis-virescens lepidoptera
  • systemic induction
  • spodoptera-exigua
  • optimal defense
  • pigment glands
  • plants
  • responses
  • allelochemicals
  • phytoalexins
  • herbivores


Dive into the research topics of 'Above- and below- ground terpenoid aldehyde induction in cotton, Gossypium herbaceum, following root and leaf injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this