Botany (2011) 89, 255-261

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Corinthe Zekveld and John Markham (2011)
Exposure to aphids increases alder growth and nitrogen fixation
Botany 89 (4), 255-261
Abstract: Plants can respond to herbivore damage by mounting a resistance response or by compensating for lost fitness. Both plant nutrition and interactions with soil microbes can affect these responses. It has been shown that resistance responses can occur before plants have been attacked by herbivores. Here we show that a tolerance type of response can occur when plants are exposed to, but not fed on by, herbivores. Alnus viridis (Chaix) DC. spp. crispa (Ait.) Turrill were grown in sealed containers under positive air pressure with either 0.5 mmol·L-1 or 2.0 mmol·L-1 nitrate and either inoculated or not inoculated with Frankia, their nitrogen-fixing symbiont. Plants were then exposed to the genus-specific aphid Prociphilus tessallatus Fitch, which failed to establish feeding colonies. Exposure to aphids, formation of nitrogen-fixing nodules, and elevated soil nitrogen levels all significantly increased plant yield with no interaction among these factors. A combination of high soil nitrogen, nodulation, and exposure to aphids resulted in the lowest plant root:shoot ratio. Plants that were grown with low nitrogen and were exposed to aphids showed increased nitrogen-fixing activity within a day of being exposed. These results provide further evidence to support the observation that plants can respond to cues from other organisms prior to receiving herbivore damage.
Link to article at publishers website

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
environment - cropping system/rotation

Pest and/or beneficial records:

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

Prociphilus tesselatus Alder (Alnus)