Disulfooxy fatty acids from the American bird grasshopper Schistocerca americana, elicitors of plant volatiles

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Aug 7;104(32):12976-81. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0705947104. Epub 2007 Jul 30.


A previously unidentified class of compounds has been isolated from the regurgitant of the grasshopper species Schistocerca americana. These compounds (named here "caeliferins") are composed of saturated and monounsaturated sulfated alpha-hydroxy fatty acids in which the omega-carbon is functionalized with either a sulfated hydroxyl or a carboxyl conjugated to glycine via an amide bond. The regurgitant contains a series of these compounds with fatty acid chains of 15-20 carbons and in varying proportions. Of these, the 16-carbon analogs are predominant and are also most active in inducing release of volatile organic compounds when applied to damaged leaves of corn seedlings. Caeliferins are nonlepidopteran elicitors identified in insect herbivores. This adds a category of insect herbivore-produced elicitors of plant responses, providing further evidence of the ability of plants to detect and respond to a broad range of insect herbivore-produced compounds.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry*
  • Fatty Acids / physiology
  • Grasshoppers / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Organic Chemicals / metabolism*
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Seedlings / metabolism
  • Volatilization
  • Zea mays / metabolism


  • Fatty Acids
  • Organic Chemicals