Eur. J. Entomol. 105 (5): 839-847, 2008 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2008.111

Changes in the volatile profile of Brassica oleracea due to feeding and oviposition by Murgantia histrionica (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae)

Eric CONTI, Claudia ZADRA, Gianandrea SALERNO, Benedetta LEOMBRUNI, Daniela VOLPE, Francesca FRATI, Cesare MARUCCHINI, Ferdinando BIN
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Entomology / Chemistry; University of Perugia, Borgo XX Giugno 74, 06121 Perugia, Italy; e-mail: econti@unipg.it

The mixture of volatile compounds emitted by Brassica oleracea var. sabauda changed significantly in response to feeding and/or oviposition by Murgantia histrionica (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae). Volatiles were collected from (1) healthy plants and those with (2) feeding punctures, (3) a combination of feeding punctures and oviposition, (4) feeding punctures and one hatched egg mass and (5) plants bearing only an egg mass. In the case of plants with feeding punctures or feeding punctures plus an egg mass, the volatiles were also collected at different time intervals after plants were subjected to these two treatments (0-24 h, 24-48 h and 48-72 h). Gas chromatographic and gas chromatograph-mass spectrometric analysis showed that the percent emission of several compounds changed significantly from plants subjected to the feeding and oviposition or just oviposition. Percentage of terpenes generally decreased after feeding and oviposition, although the percentage emission of (E)-β-caryophyllene from these plants and those with just feeding punctures significantly increased. Plants with just an egg mass emitted linalool de novo but not (E)-β-ocimene. The emission of jasmonates, mainly methyl jasmonate, increased from plants with feeding punctures plus an egg mass compared to those with only an egg mass. Higher percentages of the volatile glucosinolate derivatives (VGSs), mainly 4-methoxy-3-indolylacetonitrile, were emitted by plants with feeding punctures and an egg mass. The percentage emission of most of these compounds increased during the first 24 h after the treatment and then decreased over the next 24 h, except for methyl jasmonate, which remained high also 48-72 h later. The possible ecological roles of such volatiles in plant interactions with the second and third trophic levels are discussed.

Keywords: Heteroptera, Pentatomidae, Murgantia histrionica, herbivore-induced plant volatiles, feeding, oviposition, Brassicaceae

Received: May 29, 2008; Accepted: August 8, 2008; Published: December 30, 2008

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