Plant signaling & behavior

Plutella xylostella (L.) infestations at varying temperatures induce the emission of specific volatile blends by Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh.

PMID 25482777


The effect of combined abiotic and biotic factors on plant volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions is poorly understood. This study evaluated the VOC emissions produced by Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Col-0 subjected to 3 temperature regimes (17, 22, and 27°C) in the presence and absence of Plutella xylostella larvae over 2 time intervals (0-4 and 4-8 h), in comparison to control plants. The analyses of VOCs emitted by Arabidopsis plants were made by headspace solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME) coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). It was found that certain volatile groups (e.g., alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, and terpenes) are induced by both single factors (temperature or larval infestation) and combined factors (temperature and larvae interactions), whereas other volatile groups (e.g., isothiocyanates [ITCs] and nitrile) were specific to the experimental conditions. ITCs (mainly 4-methylpentyl isothiocyanate) were emitted from plants subjected to larval infestation at 17 and 27°C after the 2 time intervals. The proportions of sulfides (mainly dimethyl disulfide) and 4-(methylthio) butanenitrile were significantly higher on herbivore-infested plants at 22°C compared to the other treatments. Overall, our findings indicate that changes in all experimental conditions caused significant changes to the VOC emissions of Arabidopsis plants. Therefore, the interaction between temperature and larval feeding may represent an important factor determining the variability of volatile emissions by plants subjected to multiple simultaneous factors.