Water stress altered the glucosinolate profile in Brassica italica and influenced the performance of Brevicoryne brassicae and Myzus persicae.
Drought stress alters the chemical composition of plants, which can influence their tolerance to insect herbivory. To evaluate plant chemical responses to drought stress, broccoli, Brassica oleracea L. var. italica Plenck (Brassicaceae), was grown under well-watered, drought, and water-logged conditions. The glucosinolate (GS) levels and the performance of two aphid species, the specialist Brevicoryne brassicae (L.) and the generalist Myzus persicae (Sulzer) (both Hemiptera: Aphididae), in relation to water stress conditions were studied. High Performance Liquid Chromatography analysis showed that water stress changed the levels of GS in broccoli plants. Plants grown for 2 weeks under drought stress were significantly smaller and showed decreased levels of total GS when compared with GS contents of well-watered plants, whereas water-logged conditions led to a slight increase in the GS contents. A substantial decrease in indolyl GS was detected in water-deficient plants, whereas aliphatic GS decreased slightly. Analysis of sugar levels in phloem sap of broccoli plants revealed that plants under water-logged conditions contained the highest amounts of sugars followed by drought-stressed and well-watered plants. The two aphid species responded differently to water stress-induced changes in their host plants. Significantly larger populations of M. persicae were recorded on plants with a limited water supply than on plants grown under well-watered or water-logged conditions. Brevicoryne brassicae was less affected by water stress, and similar population sizes were found on plants that were subject to different treatments. Analysis of covariance showed a significant effect of the plants’ water condition but no significant effect of GS content on the performance of M. persicae. However, the specialist B. brassicae remained unaffected by changes induced under water stress conditions.
Khan, M.A.M.; Ulrichs, Ch.; Mewis, I. 2010. Water stress altered the glucosinolate profile in Brassica italica and influenced the performance of Brevicoryne brassicae and Myzus persicae. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 137, 229-236.