Compatible and incompatible pathogen-plant interactions differentially affect plant volatile emissions and the attraction of parasitoid wasps

Camille Ponzio, Berhane T. Weldegergis, Marcel Dicke, Rieta Gols*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The effects of multiple insect attacks on herbivore-induced plant volatiles and carnivorous arthropods are increasingly studied. Phytopathogens also represent an important threat to plants, and plant defence strategies against pathogens and insects are strongly interconnected, yet the potential impact of pathogens on insect-induced volatiles has been largely overlooked, and degree of pathogenicity is rarely considered. We investigated how pathogen challenge, with virulent and avirulent strains of Xanthomonas campestris either alone or with simultaneous Pieris brassicae caterpillar herbivory, affected the volatile emissions of Brassica nigra plants. The impact of these volatiles on the foraging behaviour of Cotesia glomerata parasitoids wasps was then assessed. Pathogens themselves induced volatiles that were highly attractive to parasitoids, and enhanced the attractiveness of host-infested plant volatiles. Chemical analyses revealed that virulent and avirulent strains differentially induced plant volatiles, with primarily sesquiterpene, homoterpene and green leaf volatile compounds contributing to the differences. Strong similarities were found in the blends induced by the virulent strain and caterpillar herbivory. Challenge by either virulent or avirulent pathogens has a significant impact on plant chemistry and its interactions with other community members, demonstrating the importance of integrating pathogen- and insect-based research to broaden our knowledge of plant defences under conditions of increasing complexity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1779-1789
JournalFunctional Ecology
Volume30
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Pieris brassicae
  • Xanthomonas campestris
  • Avirulent
  • Bacterial pathogen
  • Induced plant volatiles
  • Parasitoid foraging
  • Virulent
  • 016-3983

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