Testing the optimal defence hypothesis for two indirect defences: extrafloral nectar and volatile organic compoundsReport as inadecuate

Testing the optimal defence hypothesis for two indirect defences: extrafloral nectar and volatile organic compounds - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.


, Volume 228, Issue 3, pp 449–457

First Online: 21 May 2008Received: 16 December 2007Revised: 01 May 2008Accepted: 02 May 2008


Many plants respond to herbivory with an increased production of extrafloral nectar EFN and-or volatile organic compounds VOCs to attract predatory arthropods as an indirect defensive strategy. In this study, we tested whether these two indirect defences fit the optimal defence hypothesis ODH, which predicts the within-plant allocation of anti-herbivore defences according to trade-offs between growth and defence. Using jasmonic acid-induced plants of Phaseolus lunatus and Ricinus communis, we tested whether the within-plant distribution pattern of these two indirect defences reflects the fitness value of the respective plant parts. Furthermore, we quantified photosynthetic rates and followed the within-plant transport of assimilates with C labelling experiments. EFN secretion and VOC emission were highest in younger leaves. Moreover, the photosynthetic rate increased with leaf age, and pulse-labelling experiments suggested transport of carbon to younger leaves. Our results demonstrate that the ODH can explain the within-plant allocation pattern of both indirect defences studied.

KeywordsExtrafloral nectar Indirect defence Ontogeny Optimal defence hypothesis Volatile organic compounds AbbreviationsDMNTE-4,8-dimethylnona-3,5,7-triene

EFNExtrafloral nectar

IAEAInternational Atomic Energy Agency

IRMSIsotope ratio mass spectrometry

LSDLeast significant difference

JAJasmonic acid

MeSAMethyl salicylate

ODHOptimal defence hypothesis

PARPhotosynthetic active radiation



VBDBVienna Peedee belemnite

VOCVolatile organic compounds

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Author: Venkatesan Radhika - Christian Kost - Stefan Bartram - Martin Heil - Wilhelm Boland

Source: https://link.springer.com/

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