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J Chem Ecol. 2003 Jun;29(6):1357-72.

Differential activity and degradation of plant volatile elicitors in regurgitant of tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) larvae.

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Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611-0620, USA.


Plants respond to insect herbivory by emitting volatile compounds that attract natural enemies of the herbivores. Biosynthesis of many of these volatiles in plants is induced by herbivore-produced compounds. Components of tobacco hornworm (THW) regurgitant were investigated for their efficacy as elicitors of corn seedling volatiles. Two components that elicited the strongest release of volatiles were isolated and identified as N-linolenoyl-L-glutamine (18:3-GLN) and N-linolenoyl-L-glutamic acid (18:3-GLU). The approximately 10 times more active 18:3-GLN, which also is found in the regurgitant of several other Lepidopteran larvae, was rapidly degraded when THW regurgitant was left at room temperature, while 18:3-GLU degraded at a much slower rate. Different dietary sources of THW and tobacco bud worm larvae, including both host and nonhost plants, did not affect the amino acid composition of the fatty acid-amino acid conjugates in the regurgitant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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