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Biochemical and enzymatic changes in rice plants as a mechanism of defense

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A laboratory study was undertaken to ascertain the impact and the extent of feeding by different pests on biochemical constituents and various enzyme levels in rice plants. The difference in these parameters due to the pest damage by three different modes of feeding was also studied and compared. The borer pest—yellow stem borer (YSB), Scirpophaga incertulas (W); surface feeder—-leaf roller (LR), Cnaphalocrosis medinalis (G) and a sucking pest—brown plant hopper (BPH), Nilaparvata lugens (S) fed rice plants were analyzed for the quantitative and qualitative changes in biochemical profile and enzymatic changes that occur as plant’s defensive responses were analyzed spectrophotometrically. The phenolic acids were analyzed using HPLC and quantitated with the standard samples. The quantity of biochemicals such as proteins, phenols and carbohydrates has been enhanced along with the enzyme activities of peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT), chitinase (CHI). A decrease in superoxide dismutase (SOD), phenyl alanine ammonia lyase (PAL), β-1, 3-glucanase (GLU) enzyme activities were evident in pest infested plants. Phenolic acids like vanillic acid, syringic acid, cinnamic acid, and p-coumaric acids were mostly found in the infested plants. We demonstrate that the elevated levels of biochemicals, phenolic acids, and enzymes may play a major role in plant defense.

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Fig. 1
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Superoxide dismutase


Phenylalanine ammonia lyase


β-1, 3-Glucanase


Yellow stem borer, Scirpophaga incertulas


Leaf roller, Cnaphalocrosis medinalis


Brown plant hopper, Nilaparvata lugens


Reactive oxygen species


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The authors are grateful to Dr. J. S. Yadav, Director, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology for the facilities. Thanks are due to Dr. T. Ratna Sudhakar, Scientist, Rice Research Station; Acharya N. G. Ranga, Agricultural University, Hyderabad, for providing the plant material; and Dr. R. Nageswara Rao, Scientist, Mass and Analytical Division, IICT, for HPLC analysis.

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Correspondence to Pathipati Usha Rani.

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Communicated by H. Janska.

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Usha Rani, P., Jyothsna, Y. Biochemical and enzymatic changes in rice plants as a mechanism of defense. Acta Physiol Plant 32, 695–701 (2010).

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