Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 1160–1176

Immunological Memory of Mountain Birches: Effects of Phenolics on Performance of the Autumnal Moth Depend on Herbivory History of Trees

  • Teija Ruuhola
  • Juha-Pekka Salminen
  • Sanna Haviola
  • Shiyong Yang
  • Markus J. Rantala
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10886-007-9308-z

Cite this article as:
Ruuhola, T., Salminen, JP., Haviola, S. et al. J Chem Ecol (2007) 33: 1160. doi:10.1007/s10886-007-9308-z

Abstract

Plants have been suggested to have an immunological memory comparable to animals. The evidence for this, however, is scarce. In our study with the mountain birch—Epirrita autumnata system, we demonstrated that birches exposed as long as 5 yr to feeding of E. autumnata larvae (delayed induced resistance, DIR), responded more strongly to a new challenge than trees without an herbivory history. Pupal weights remained lower, and the duration of the larval period was prolonged in the DIR trees, although immunity, measured as an encapsulation rate, was not affected. We further demonstrated that the effects of birch phenolics on performance of E. autumnata were different in the exposed (DIR) trees from naive control trees, although we found only one significant change in chemistry. The quercetin:kaemferol ratio was increased in DIR trees, suggesting that herbivory caused oxidative stress in birches. In DIR trees, phenolics, especially hydrolyzable tannins (HTs), affected pupal weights negatively, whereas in control trees, the effects were either nonsignificant or positive. HTs also prolonged the duration of the larval period of females, whereas peroxidase (POD) activity prolonged that of males. We suggest that the causal explanation for the induced resistance was an enhanced oxidation of phenolic compounds from the DIR trees in the larval digestive tract. Phenolic oxidation produces semiquinones, quinones, free radicals, and ROS, which may have toxic, antinutritive, and/or repellent properties against herbivores.

Keywords

Autumnal mothDefenseEpirrita AutumnataHerbivoryHydrolyzable tanninsImmune defenseInduced resistanceMountain birchPeroxidasesPhenolic compounds

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teija Ruuhola
    • 1
  • Juha-Pekka Salminen
    • 2
  • Sanna Haviola
    • 1
  • Shiyong Yang
    • 1
  • Markus J. Rantala
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Ecology, Department of BiologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Laboratory of Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Department of ChemistryUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland