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Science. 2006 Sep 29;313(5795):1964-7.

Volatile chemical cues guide host location and host selection by parasitic plants.

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  • 1Department of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.

Abstract

The importance of plant volatiles in mediating interactions between plant species is much debated. Here, we demonstrate that the parasitic plant Cuscuta pentagona (dodder) uses volatile cues for host location. Cuscuta pentagona seedlings exhibit directed growth toward nearby tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum) and toward extracted tomato-plant volatiles presented in the absence of other cues. Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) and wheat plants (Triticum aestivum) also elicit directed growth. Moreover, seedlings can distinguish tomato and wheat volatiles and preferentially grow toward the former. Several individual compounds from tomato and wheat elicit directed growth by C. pentagona, whereas one compound from wheat is repellent. These findings provide compelling evidence that volatiles mediate important ecological interactions among plant species.

PMID:
17008532
DOI:
10.1126/science.1131371
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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