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Environ Pollut. 2004 Sep;131(2):305-11.

Ozone exposure triggers the emission of herbivore-induced plant volatiles, but does not disturb tritrophic signalling.

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Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, University of Kuopio, P.O. Box 1627, Kuopio FIN-70211, Finland.


We evaluated the similarities between ozone-induced and mite-induced emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from lima beans, and tested the response of the natural enemies of herbivores to these emissions using trophic system of two-spotted spider mites and predatory mites. The acute ozone-exposure and spider mite-infestation induced the emission of two homoterpenes, (E)-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene and (E,E)-4,8,12-trimethyl-1,3,7,11-tridecatetraene, and (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate. Only plants with spider mite-infestation emitted the monoterpene (E)-beta-ocimene. Predatory mites were equally attracted to ozone-exposed and unexposed plants, but discriminated between spider mite-infested and uninfested plants, when both were exposed to ozone. The similarities between ozone and herbivore-induced VOCs suggest that plant defence against phytotoxic ozone and the production of VOCs for attraction of the natural enemies of herbivores may have adaptive coevolution. However, the expected elevated ozone concentrations in future may not disturb tritrophic signalling, unless herbivore-induced VOCs are lost in the process of aerosol formation.

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