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Carbon dioxide‐ and temperature‐mediated changes in plant defensive compounds alter food utilization of herbivores

Teawkul, Papitchaya, Hwang, Shaw‐Yhi
Journal of applied entomology 2019 v.143 no.3 pp. 289-298
Brassica oleracea, Spodoptera litura, animals, broccoli, carbon, carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide enrichment, catechol oxidase, chemical defenses, climate change, herbivores, larvae, leaves, monitoring, plant-insect relations, plants (botany), polyphenols, prediction, temperature, trypsin inhibitors, water content
Although the impact of elevated carbon dioxide and rising temperature on plants and animals has been extensively documented recently, only limited understanding exists regarding their combined effects. The objective of this research was to address the consequences of using combinations of elevated CO₂ and elevated temperature on a plant's defensive chemistry, and subsequent utilization of the plant as insect food. Our results indicated that elevated CO₂ and increased temperature, for the most part, act independently on the production of defensive compounds in broccoli leaves (Brassica oleracea L. var. italica). CO₂ concentrations had significant effects on the foliar water content, total phenolic compounds, polyphenol oxidase and trypsin inhibitor concentrations. The herbivore Spodoptera litura (Fabricius; Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) responded to changes in the plant secondary chemistry, with larvae consuming more plant materials that had been exposed to elevated CO₂. The food utilization efficiencies of second‐instar larvae were more sensitive to CO₂‐treated foliage than those of the third‐ and fourth‐instar larvae. Temperature did exert a significant effect on food utilization (ECD) by the larvae. Our study will provide important information in future predictions on plant–insect interactions as a result of climate change. The study also demonstrated that since various larval stages might respond differently to climate change, this possibility needs to be considered in future forecasting and monitoring.