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An Elicitor of Plant Volatiles from Beet Armyworm Oral Secretion

Science  09 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5314, pp. 945-949
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5314.945

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Abstract

The compoundN-(17-hydroxylinolenoyl)-l-glutamine (named here volicitin) was isolated from oral secretions of beet armyworm caterpillars. When applied to damaged leaves of corn seedlings, volicitin induces the seedlings to emit volatile compounds that attract parasitic wasps, natural enemies of the caterpillars. Mechanical damage of the leaves, without application of this compound, did not trigger release of the same blend of volatiles. Volicitin is a key component in a chain of chemical signals and biochemical processes that regulate tritrophic interactions among plants, insect herbivores, and natural enemies of the herbivores.

  • * Present address: University of Neuchatel, Institute of Zoology, CH-2007 Neuchatel, Switzerland.

  • Present address: Community Research Service, Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY 40601, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: tumlnsn{at}nervm.nerdc.ufl.edu

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