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Planta

, 251:48 | Cite as

“Help is in the air”: volatiles from salt-stressed plants increase the reproductive success of receivers under salinity

  • Marco LandiEmail author
  • Fabrizio Araniti
  • Guido Flamini
  • Ermes Lo Piccolo
  • Alice Trivellini
  • Maria Rosa Abenavoli
  • Lucia Guidi
Original Article

Abstract

Main conclusion

Salinity alters VOC profile in emitter sweet basil plants. Airborne signals by emitter plants promote earlier flowering of receivers and increase their reproductive success under salinity.

Abstract

Airborne signals can prime neighboring plants against pathogen and/or herbivore attacks, whilst little is known about the possibility that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by stressed plants alert neighboring plants against abiotic stressors. Salt stress (50 mM NaCl) was imposed on Ocimum basilicum L. plants (emitters, namely NaCl), and a putative alerting-priming interaction was tested on neighboring basil plants (receivers, namely NaCl-S). Compared with the receivers, the NaCl plants exhibited reduced biomass, lower photosynthesis, and changes in the VOC profile, which are common early responses of plants to salinity. In contrast, NaCl-S plants had physiological parameters similar to those of nonsalted plants (C), but exhibited a different VOC fingerprint, which overlapped, for most compounds, with that of emitters. NaCl-S plants exposed later to NaCl treatment (namely NaCl-S + NaCl) exhibited changes in the VOC profile, earlier plant senescence, earlier flowering, and higher seed yield than C + NaCl plants. This experiment offers the evidence that (1) NaCl-triggered VOCs promote metabolic changes in NaCl-S plants, which, finally, increase reproductive success and (2) the differences in VOC profiles observed between emitters and receivers subjected to salinity raise the question whether the receivers are able to “propagate” the warning signal triggered by VOCs in neighboring companions.

Keywords

Airborne signal Emitter Infochemical Plant–plant communication Receiver Salt stress 

Abbreviations

AN

Net photosynthesis

F0/Fm/Fv

Minimal/maximal/variable chlorophyll fluorescence yield in dark-adapted leaves

gs

Stomatal conductance

PCA

Principal component analyses

VOC

Volatile organic compound

WUE

Water use efficiency

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study in part was supported by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR), project SIR-2014 cod. RBSI14L9CE (MEDANAT).

Supplementary material

425_2020_3344_MOESM1_ESM.docx (465 kb)
Figure S1 Score plot of metabolomics data (DOCX 464 kb)
425_2020_3344_MOESM2_ESM.docx (346 kb)
Figure S2 Score plot of volatile organic compounds (DOCX 345 kb)
425_2020_3344_MOESM3_ESM.docx (22 kb)
Supplementary file3 (DOCX 22 kb)
425_2020_3344_MOESM4_ESM.docx (24 kb)
Supplementary file4 (DOCX 24 kb)
425_2020_3344_MOESM5_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary file5 (DOCX 19 kb)
425_2020_3344_MOESM6_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary file6 (DOCX 14 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Landi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Fabrizio Araniti
    • 3
  • Guido Flamini
    • 4
  • Ermes Lo Piccolo
    • 1
  • Alice Trivellini
    • 5
  • Maria Rosa Abenavoli
    • 3
  • Lucia Guidi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.CIRSEC, Centre for Climatic Change ImpactUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  3. 3.Department of AgrariaUniversity ‘Mediterranea’ of Reggio CalabriaReggio CalabriaItaly
  4. 4.Department of PharmacyUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  5. 5.Institute of Life SciencesScuola Superiore Sant’AnnaPisaItaly

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