Arthropod-Plant Interactions (2012) 6, 171-179

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Bettina Gutbrodt, Silvia Dorn and Karsten Mody (2012)
Drought stress affects constitutive but not induced herbivore resistance in apple plants
Arthropod-Plant Interactions 6 (2), 171-179
Abstract: Plant-herbivore interactions are influenced by chemical plant traits, which can vary depending on the plants' abiotic and biotic environment. Drought events, which are predicted to become more frequent and prolonged due to climate change, may affect primary and secondary plant metabolites contributing to constitutive resistance. Furthermore, the ability of plants to respond to herbivore attack in terms of induced resistance may be altered under drought conditions. We assessed the effects of drought stress on constitutive and induced apple plant resistance to a generalist insect herbivore by quantifying plant and herbivore responses in concert. Plants were exposed to different drought stress intensities (constitutive resistance) and subsequently to herbivore damage treatments that included different damage durations (induced resistance). As drought stress intensified, plant growth and concentrations of the leaf phenolic phloridzin decreased, whereas leaf glucose concentrations increased. Changes in fructose concentrations and in herbivore feeding preferences indicated a non-monotonic shift in constitutive resistance. Moderately stressed plants showed reduced fructose concentrations and were consumed least, while severely stressed plants were fructose-enriched and consumed most compared to well-watered control plants showing intermediate fructose concentrations and palatability. We found no evidence for effects of drought stress on induced resistance, as herbivore feeding preferences for undamaged over damaged plants were independent of drought intensity. Our results suggest a strong role of primary metabolites for drought-dependent variation in constitutive plant resistance and offer novel experimental insights into the effects of drought stress on induced plant resistance across a gradient of water deprivation.
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Database assignments for author(s): Karsten Mody

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
resistance/tolerance/defence of host


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.
Spodoptera littoralis