Plants emit a series of characteristic volatile blends when damaged by insect feeding. Phenylacetonitrile is one of the volatiles from the leaves of the giant knotweed, Fallopia sachalinensis, infested by the Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica, or treated with exogenous airborne methyl jasmonate (MeJA). We examined the precursor of the nitrile and its origin in this system. L-Phenylalanine was determined to be a precursor of the nitrile in F. sachalinensis leaves, and the phenylalanine was also induced by beetle feeding and MeJA treatment. We also found that exogenous MeJA enhanced the biosynthesis of several amino acids in F. sachalinensis leaves.
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