Green leaf volatiles

The use of green leaf volatiles as an additional tool in integrated pest management

Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds (BVOCs) are known regulators of the communication of sedentary plants with their direct environment. Besides attracting pollinators, repelling insect herbivores and even possessing antifungal or antimicrobial properties, BVOCs can act as an alarm signal to warn neighbouring plants of an imminent herbivorous or pathogen attack. For example, green leaf volatiles (GLVs) can be perceived by other plants, after which defense pathways in those plants are initiated. One type of induced resistance is called priming. A plant in primed state will be able to respond faster and/or stronger after an attack with a pathogen or herbivorous insect than a plant in unprimed state.
This project aims to investigate the potential of GLVs as a tool in integrated pest management. Our model consists of wheat and Fusarium graminearum. At first we identify BVOCs that are released by wheat plants upon infection with F. graminearum. Subsequently, wheat plants will be exposed to these BVOCs prior to infection with F. graminearum. Through the use of different techniques such as bio-assays, qPCR, enzyme activity etc. we will answer the question whether plant priming can act as an innovative pest management instrument.

Contact: Maarten Ameye
Funding: Ghent University Association Research Fund
Supervisors: Prof. dr. ir. G.Haesaert, Prof. dr. ir. G. Smagghe
Co-supervisors: Dr. ir. K. Audenaert
Period: 2011-2015