Plant-mediated effects in the Brassicaceae on the performance and behaviour of parasitoids

R. Gols, J.A. Harvey

    Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

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    Direct and indirect plant defences are well studied, particularly in the Brassicaceae. Glucosinolates (GS) are secondary plant compounds characteristic in this plant family. They play an important role in defence against herbivores and pathogens. Insect herbivores that are specialists on brassicaceous plant species have evolved adaptations to excrete or detoxify GS. Other insect herbivores may even sequester GS and employ them as defence against their own antagonists, such as predators. Moreover, high levels of GS in the food plants of non-sequestering herbivores can negatively affect the growth and survival of their parasitoids. In addition to allelochemicals, plants produce volatile chemicals when damaged by herbivores. These herbivore induced plant volatiles (HIPV) have been demonstrated to play an important role in foraging behaviour of insect parasitoids. In addition, biosynthetic pathways involved in the production of HIPV are being unraveled using the model plant Arabidopsis thialiana. However, the majority of studies investigating the attractiveness of HIPV to parasitoids are based on experiments mainly using crop plant species in which defence traits may have changed through artificial selection. Field studies with both cultivated and wild crucifers, the latter in which defence traits are intact, are necessary to reveal the relative importance of direct and indirect plant defence strategies on parasitoid and plant fitness. Future research should also consider the potential conflict between direct and indirect plant defences when studying the evolution of plant defences against insect herbivory.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)187-206
    JournalPhytochemistry Reviews
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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