No evidence of modulation of indirect plant resistance of Brassica rapa plants by volatiles from soil-borne fungi

K. Moisan (Corresponding author), Dani Lucas-Barbosa, Alexandre Villela, Liana O. Greenberg, V. Cordovez, J.M. Raaijmakers, Marcel Dicke

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Upon herbivory, plants emit specific herbivore‐induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) that can attract natural enemies of the herbivore thus serving as indirect plant resistance. Not only insect herbivores, but microorganisms may also affect HIPV emission before or after plant colonisation, which in turn can affect behaviour of natural enemies of the herbivore. Yet, it remains elusive whether volatiles from microorganisms influence HIPV emission and indirect plant resistance.
In this study, we investigated whether exposure of Brassica rapa roots to volatiles from soil‐borne fungi influence HIPV emission and the recruitment of natural enemies of Pieris brassicae larvae.
Using a two‐compartment pot system, we performed greenhouse and common‐garden experiments, and we profiled plant HIPV emission.
We found that exposure of plant roots to fungal volatiles did not affect the number of P. brassicae larvae recollected from the plants, suggesting a neutral effect of the fungal volatiles on natural predation. Likewise, in a greenhouse, similar numbers of larvae were parasitised by Cotesia glomerata wasps on control plants as on fungal volatile‐exposed plants. Additionally, chemical analysis of HIPV profiles revealed no qualitative and quantitative differences between control plants and fungal volatile‐exposed plants that were both infested with P. brassicae larvae.
Together, our data indicate that root exposure to fungal volatiles did not affect indirect plant resistance to an insect herbivore. These findings provide new insight into the influence of indirect plant resistance by fungal volatiles that are discussed together with the effects of fungal volatiles on direct plant resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1200-1211
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number5
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


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