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Phytochemistry. 2011 Nov;72(16):1999-2005. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2011.06.006. Epub 2011 Jul 25.

Volatiles that encode host-plant quality in the grapevine moth.

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  • 1IASMA Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, Via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all'Adige, Italy.


Plant volatiles are signals used by herbivorous insects to locate host plants and select oviposition sites. Whether such volatiles are used as indicators of plant quality by adult insects in search of host plants has been rarely tested. We tested whether volatiles indicate plant quality by studying the oviposition of the grapevine moth Lobesia botrana on the grapevine plant Vitis vinifera. Host plants were infected with a variety of microorganisms, and larval fitness was correlated to the infected state of the substrate. Our results show an oviposition preference for volatiles that is significantly correlated with the fitness of the substrate. The chemical profiles of the bouquets from each V. vinifera-microorganism system are clearly differentiated in a PCA analysis. Both the volatile signal and the quality of the plant as larval food were affected by the introduction of microorganisms. Our study represents a broad approach to the study of plant-insect interactions by considering not only the direct effect of the plant but also the effect of plant-microorganism interactions on insect population dynamics.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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