Jasmonic acid-induced volatiles of Brassica oleracea attract parasitoids: effects of time and dose, and comparison with induction by herbivores
M. A Posthumus,
M. J Mueller,
J. J. A van Loon
Caterpillar feeding induces direct and indirect defences in brassicaceous plants. This study focused on the role of the octadecanoid pathway in induced indirect defence in Brassica oleracea. The effect of induction by exogenous application of jasmonic acid (JA) on the responses of Brussels sprouts plants and on host-location behaviour of associated parasitoid wasps was studied. Feeding by the biting–chewing herbivores Pieris rapae and Plutella xylostella resulted in significantly increased endogenous levels of JA, a central component in the octadecanoid signalling pathway that mediates induced plant defence. The levels of the intermediate 12-oxophyto-dienoic acid (OPDA) were significantly induced only after P. rapae feeding. Three species of parasitoid wasps, Cotesia glomerata, C. rubecula, and Diadegma semiclausum, differing in host range and host specificity, were tested for their behavioural responses to volatiles from herbivore-induced, JA-induced, and non-induced plants. All three species were attracted to volatiles from JA-induced plants compared with control plants; however, they preferred volatiles from herbivore-induced plants over volatiles from JA-induced plants. Attraction of C. glomerata depended on both timing and dose of JA application. JA-induced plants produced larger quantities of volatiles than herbivore-induced and control plants, indicating that not only quantity, but also quality of the volatile blend is important in the host-location behaviour of the wasps.