Characterization of induced resistance in tomato plants

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We have characterized, using several types of bioassays, the resistance induced in young tomato plants by feeding of the corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea. Beet armyworm larvae, Spodoptera exigua, and leafminers, Liriomyza trifolii, were used to assay the induced resistance. In whole- plant experiments, damage localized to a single leaflet of four-leaf tomato plants induced a systemic increase in resistance such that beet armyworm larvae confined to previously damaged (induced) plants grew at a rate about half that of larvae raised on control plants and consumed less leaf tissue from induced plants than from control plants. In experiments using excised leaves, beet armyworm larvae suffered increased mortality when reared on leaves from induced plants. The strength of this induced resistance varied spatially relative to the damaged position; moreover, the spatial distribution of induced resistance changed over a three-week period following damage. Other experiments demonstrated that the mechanism of induced resistance in tomato foliage involves both a decrease in larval preference for and a decrease in the nutritional value of induced foliage. Induction also retarded the oviposition and/or early development of leafminers. Thus, induced resistance has relatively severe effects on the biology of subsequent herbivores. These data should allow us to begin to elucidate cause-effect relationships between induced resistance and induced chemistry in tomato plants.

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Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata

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