The effects of simulated acid rain and heavy metal pollution on the mountain birch–autumnal moth interaction
- 395 Downloads
The exposure of plants to abiotic stresses like air pollutants may increase their susceptibility to herbivores. However, abiotic stresses often induce the accumulation of phenolic compounds that may have adverse effects on plant-eating animals. In this study, we examined the effects of long-term (14 years) deposition of simulated acid rain (H2SO4) and heavy metals (CuNi) on the plant–herbivore interaction. The used species were well-known model species of plant–herbivore interaction, namely the mountain birch (Betula pubescens ssp. czerepanovii) and autumnal moth (Epirrita autumnata). The study set-up was factorial with four combinations of two treatments: −acid−CuNi, +acid−CuNi, −acid+CuNi, and +acid+CuNi. The deposition of pollutants had no marked effects on the growth, survival, or immune function of the autumnal moth although the chemistry of birch leaves was markedly affected. The concentrations of gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, three of hydrolyzable tannins (HTs), and quercetin glycosides were induced by the acid rain treatment when compared to leaves not treated with acid rain. We concluded that an increase in compounds with high redox capacity was a defense against oxidative stress caused by pollution treatments. We suggested that pollution might have increased the deposition of non-phenolic antioxidants like ascorbate that diminish the adverse effects of phenolics on herbivores. We also stated that abiotic stresses might play an equally strong role in the evolution of phenolics than herbivory if not larger.
KeywordsAbiotic stress Autumnal moth Immunity Mountain birch Phenolics Pollution
We thank the staff of the Kevo Subarctic Research Institute for help and providing pleasant working facilities and all those who have contributed to the long-term simulated acid rain and heavy metal pollution experiment. We thank Sanna Haviola for assistance in the fieldwork and Line Nybakken for invaluable comments concerning the MS. This research was made possible by finance granted by the Academy of Finland to TR and MJR and by the Kone Foundation. William Sillitoe kindly checked the English of the manuscript.
- Abramoff MD, Magelhaes JD (2004) Image processing with ImageJ. Biophot Int 11:36–42Google Scholar
- Markham KR, Tanner GJ, Caasi-Lit, M, Whitecross MI, Nayudu M, Mitchhell KA (1998) Possible protective role of 3′4′ -dihydroxyflavones induced by enhanced UV-B in a UV-tolerant rice cultivar. Phytochemistry 49:1913–1919 Google Scholar
- Michalak A (2006) Phenolic compounds and their antioxidant activity in plants growing under heavy metal stress. Pol J Environ Stud 15:523–530Google Scholar
- Ossipov V, Klemola T, Ruohomäki K, Salminen JP (2010) Hydrolysable tannins as a factor of rapid inducible resistance of mountain birch trees to herbivorous insects. Polyphe Commun 1:307–308Google Scholar
- Peltonen P (2007) Impact of elevated O3 and CO2 concentrations on phenolic compounds of birch (Betula pendula Roth): implications for herbivorous insects and detritivorous soil animals. University of Joensuu, PhD dissertations in Biology, JoensuuGoogle Scholar
- Rennenberg H, Gessler A (2001) Acid rain. Nature encyclopedia of life sciences. Nature Publishing Group, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Ryan KG, Markham KR, Bloor SJ, Bradley JM, Mitchell KA, Jordan BR (1998) UVB radiation induced increase in quercetin:kaempferol ratio in normal and transgenic lines of Petunia. Photoch. Photobiol 68:323–330Google Scholar
- Seyyednejad SM, Koochak H (2010) A survey on biochemical effects of industrial air pollution on Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh. J Food Agr Environ 8:1272–1275Google Scholar
- Yang S, Ruuhola T, Rantala MJ (2007) Impact of starvation on immune defense and other life-history traits of an outbreaking geometrid, Epirrita autumnata: a possible causal trigger for the crash phase of population cycle. Ann Zool Fenn 44:89–96Google Scholar
- Zancani M, Nagy G (2000) Phenol-dependent H2O2 breakdown by soybean root plasma membrane-bound peroxidase is regulated by ascorbate and thiols. J Plant Physiol 15:259–299Google Scholar
- Zobel A, Nigthswander JE (1991) Accumulation of phenolic compounds in the necrotic areas of Austrian and red pine needles after spraying with sulphuric acid: a possible bioindicator of air pollution. New Phytol 117:565–574Google Scholar