Plants under herbivore attack emit mixtures of volatiles (herbivore-induced plant volatiles, HIPVs) that can attract predators of the herbivores. Although the composition of HIPVs should be critical for the attraction, most studies of transgenic plant-emitted volatiles have simply addressed the effect of trans-volatiles without embedding in other endogenous plant volatiles. We investigated the abilities of transgenic wishbone flower plants (Torenia hybrida and Torenia fournieri) infested with spider mites, emitting a trans-volatile ((E)-β-ocimene) in the presence or absence of endogenous volatiles (natural HIPVs and/or floral volatiles), to attract predatory mites (Phytoseiulus persimilis). In both olfactory- and glasshouse-based assays, P. persimilis females were attracted to natural HIPVs from infested wildtype (wt) plants of T. hybrida but not to those of T. fournieri. The trans-volatile enhanced the ability to attract P. persimilis only when added to an active HIPV blend from the infested transgenic T. hybrida plants, in comparison with the attraction by infested wt plants. Intriguingly, floral volatiles abolished the enhanced attractive ability of T. hybrida transformants, although floral volatiles themselves did not elicit any attraction or avoidance behavior. Predator responses to trans-volatiles were found to depend on various background volatiles (e.g. natural HIPVs and floral volatiles) endogenously emitted by the transgenic plants.
© 2012 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2012 New Phytologist Trust.