Infection of canola by the root pathogen Plasmodiophora brassicae increases resistance to aboveground herbivory by bertha armyworm, Mamestra configurata Walker (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

Plant Sci. 2020 Nov:300:110625. doi: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2020.110625. Epub 2020 Aug 1.


Infection of plants by pathogens can result in the upregulation of induced defenses; plants may be more or less susceptible to attack by insect herbivores following infection. We investigated the interaction between canola, Brassica napus L., plants infected with clubroot, Plasmodiophora brassicae Woronin, and a generalist herbivore the bertha armyworm (BAW) Mamestra configurata Walker using two canola cultivars that varied in susceptibility to clubroot disease. Volatile organic compounds released from experimental plants differed with infection and female adult BAW could discriminate between canola plants inoculated with P. brassicae and disease-free plants. Adult female moths preferentially laid eggs on disease-free plants of the susceptible cultivar to P. brassicae. Inoculation of resistant canola with P. brassicae, however, did not influence oviposition by female BAW. The fitness of BAW larvae was reduced when they were reared on susceptible canola inoculated with P. brassicae. Salicylic acid and its conjugates in susceptible canola plants were induced following P. brassicae inoculation as compared to disease-free susceptible plants. We conclude that suppression of BAW oviposition and offspring fitness may result in part from a change in the volatile profile of the plant as a result of inoculation and the induction of defenses in inoculated susceptible canola.

Keywords: Brassica napus (canola); Clubroot; Mamestra configurata (bertha armyworm); Microbe-Herbivore interactions; Plant induced defenses; Plasmodiophora brassicae.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brassica napus / parasitology*
  • Crops, Agricultural / parasitology
  • Disease Resistance*
  • Herbivory*
  • Lepidoptera / parasitology*
  • Plant Diseases / parasitology*
  • Plant Roots / parasitology*
  • Plasmodiophorida / pathogenicity*
  • Protozoan Infections