Phenolic substances and cyanogenesis in galled and non-galled tissue of the fern species Microgramma vacciniifolia

Braz J Biol. 2021 Jun 4;82:e236151. doi: 10.1590/1519-6984.236151. eCollection 2021.


Galls, neo-formed plant structures that can occur in different organs, are generated by species-specific interaction with an inducing organism. Inducers manipulate the metabolism of its host. Microgramma vacciniifolia (Langsd. & Fisch.) Copel. is a Neotropical epiphytic fern that hosted two stem galls, one induced by a midge species (Diptera) and other by a micromoth species (Lepidoptera). The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of these two gall-inducing insects on the biochemistry of phenolic acids and the cyanogenesis in galls, stems and leaves of M. vacciniifolia. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) indicated a total of 14 phenol derivatives, including caffeic and coumaric acid. Principal Coordinates Analysis (PCoA) of the phenolic substances indicated three groups consisting (1) non-galled stems and micromoth-induced galls; (2) midge-induced galls; (3) midge-induced galls with parasitoids. Regarding the frequency of cyanogenesis assessed by the picrate paper test, the chi-squared test showed significant difference between fertile leaves (8.3%), sterile leaves (27.7%), non-galled stems (0%) and galls. Among galls, only the midge-induced galls analyzed were cyanogenic (15%). Our results indicated that the different gall-inducers (midge and micromoth) promote species-specific alterations to the phenolic substance composition of the host fern.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diptera*
  • Ferns*
  • Insecta
  • Lepidoptera*
  • Phenols
  • Plant Leaves
  • Plant Tumors


  • Phenols