Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 981–991 | Cite as

Phytohormone ecology

Herbivory byThrips tabaci induces greater ethylene production in intact onions than mechanical damage alone
  • Deborah M. Kendall
  • Louis B. Bjostad


Herbivory byThrips tabaci affected production of the phytohormone ethylene from living onion foliage. Ethylene analysis was performed by gas chromatography on intact onion tissue. Thrips feeding damage and a crushed thrips extract stimulated significantly greater production of eihylene than could be explained by either one-time or semicontinuous mechanical damage alone, suggesting that ethylene-inducing cues may be transferred to the plant during feeding. This is the first demonstration of increased ethylene production from insect-infested intact plants. This study suggests that herbivores affect both the phytohormone physiology and secondary chemistry of living plants because ethylene has been shown to enhance production of defensive phytochemicals.

Key words

Onion thrips Thrips tabaci Thysanoptera onions Allium cepa ethylene herbivory plant-insect interaction 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deborah M. Kendall
    • 1
  • Louis B. Bjostad
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesFort Lewis CollegeDurango
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyColorado State UniversityFort Collins

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