The effect of the cyanogenic glucosides linamarin and lotaustralin and their hydrolyzing enzyme linamarase was studied in a B2 generation segregating for the genes Ac and Li. Plants containing the glucosides are protected against grazing by snails both in the seedling stage and as adult plants. In seedlings, however, there is a direct effect on survival, whereas in adult plants the leaf area of plants containing linamarin/lotaustralin is less reduced under intense grazing. Linamarase has no effect on grazing by snails, possibly as a result of the presence of β-glucosidase activity in the gut of these animals. The genes Ac and Li, or genes tightly linked to them, have other effects as well: plants possessing one dominant Ac allele produce fewer flowers than homozygous ac plants. I compared this difference in flower production to the metabolic cost of producing the cyanogenic glucosides. The energy content of the difference in flower head production far exceeded the metabolic cost of cyanoglucoside production in Acac plants. It is possible that the cost of maintaining a certain level of cyanoglucosides is much more important for the plant than the initial cost of biosynthesis. The importance of the effects of Ac and Li in the maintenance of cyanogenic polymorphism in white clover is discussed.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Berenbaum MR, Zangerl AR, Nitao IK (1986) Constraints on chemical coevolution: Wild parsnibs and the parsnib webworm. Evolution 40:1215–1228
Boersma P, Kakes P, Schram AW (1983) Linamarase and β-glucosidase activity in natural populations of Trifolium repens. Acta Bot Neerl 32:39–47
Burdon JJ (1980) Intraspecific diversity in a natural population of Trifolium repens. J Ecol 68:717–735
Butler GW, Butler BG (1960) Biosynthesis of linamarin and lotaustralin in white clover. Nature 1987:780–781
Chew FS, Rodman JE (1979) Plant resources for chemical defense. In: Rosenthal GA, Janzen DH (eds): Herbivores. Academic Press, New York, pp 271–307
Coley PD (1986) Costs and benefits of defense by tannins in a neotropical tree. Oecologia 70:238–241
Daday H (1954 a) Gene frequencies in wild populations of Trifolium repens L. I. Distribution by latitude. Heredity 8:61–78
Daday H (1954 b) Gene frequencies in wild populations of Trifolium repens L. II. Distribution by altitude. Heredity 8:377–384
Daday H (1965) Gene frequencies in wild populations of Trifolium repens L. IV. Mechanisms of natural selection. Heredity 20:355–365
Dirzo R, Harper JL (1982 a) Experimental studies on slug-plant interactions III. Differences in the acceptability of individual plants of Trifolium repens to slugs and snails. J Ecol 70:101–117
Dirzo R, Harper JL (1982 b) Experimental studies on slug-plant interactions IV. The performance of cyanogenic and acyanogenic morphs of Trifolium repens in the field. J Ecol 70:119–138
Dommée B, Brakefield PM, Macnair MR (1980) Differential root growth of the cyanogenic phenotypes of Trifolium repens. Oecol Plant 1:367–370
Ennos RA (1981 a) Manifold effects of the cyanogenic loci in white clover. Heredity 45:127–132
Ennos RA (1981 b) Detection of selection in populations of white clover. Biol J Linn Soc 15:75–82
Ennos RA (1982) Association of the cyanogenic loci in white clover. Genet Res 40:65–72
Foulds W, Grime JP (1972) The response of cyanogenic and acyanogenic phenotypes of Trifolium repens to soil moisture supply. Heredity 28:181–187
Hanover JW (1966) Genetics of terpenes I. Gene control of monoterpene levels in Pinus monticola Dougl. Heredity 21:73–84
Horrill JC, Richards AJ (1986) Differential grazing by the Mollusc Arion hortensis Fér. on cyanogenic and acyanogenic seedlings of the white clover, Trifolium repens L. Heredity 56:277–281
Hughes MA, Conn EE (1976) Cyanoglucoside biosynthesis in white clover (Trifolium repens). Phytochemistry 15:697–701
Hughes MA, Stirling JD (1982) A study of dominance at the locus controlling cyanoglucoside production in Trifolium repens. Euphytica 3:477–483
Hughes MA, Stirling JD, Colinge DB (1984) The inheritance of cyanoglucoside content in T. repens. Biochem Genet 22:139–151
Kakes P (1987) On the polymorphism for cyanogenesis in natural populations of Trifolium repens L. in the Netherlands. I. Distribution of the genes Ac and Li. Acta Bot Neerl 36:59–69
Lieberei R, Selmar D, Biehl B (1985) Metabolization of cyanogenic glucosides in Hevea braziliensis. Plant Syst Evol 150:49–63
Maher EP, Hughes MA (1973) Studies on the nature of the Li locus in Trifolium repens. Biochem Genet 8:113–126
Phillipson J (1964) A miniature bomb calorimeter for small biological samples. Oikos 15:130–139
Simms EL, Rausher MD (1987) Costs and benefits of a plant resistant to herbivory. Am Nat 130:570–581
Till-Bottraud I, Kakes P, Dommée B (1988) Variable phenotypes and stable distribution of the cyanotypes of Trifolium repens in Southern France. Oecologia Plant (in press)
Van den Berg P, Matzinger DF (1970) Genetic diversity and heterosis in Nicotiana. III. Crosses among tobacco introductions and flue cured varieties. Crop Sci 10:437–440
Ware WM (1925) Experiments and observations on forms and strains of Trifolium repens. J Agric Sci 15:47–67
Communicated by P.M.A. Tigerstedt
About this article
Cite this article
Kakes, P. An analysis of the costs and benefits of the cyanogenic system in Trifolium repens L.. Theoret. Appl. Genetics 77, 111–118 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00292324
- Trifolium repens