Journal Article

Methyl jasmonate treatment of mature Norway spruce (<i>Picea abies</i>) trees increases the accumulation of terpenoid resin components and protects against infection by <i>Ceratocystis polonica</i>, a bark beetle-associated fungus‡

Gazmend Zeneli, Paal Krokene, Erik Christiansen, Trygve Krekling and Jonathan Gershenzon

in Tree Physiology

Volume 26, issue 8, pages 977-988
Published in print August 2006 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online August 2006 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/26.8.977
Methyl jasmonate treatment of mature Norway spruce (Picea abies) trees increases the accumulation of terpenoid resin components and protects against infection by Ceratocystis polonica, a bark beetle-associated fungus‡

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When conifers such as Picea abies Karst. (Norway spruce) are attacked by insects or pathogens, they often respond by producing increased quantities of terpenoid oleoresin. This response can be mimicked in young P. abies seedlings by treatment with methyl jasmonate (MJ). In this study, we determined the effects of MJ on terpenoids and other chemical defenses of mature P. abies, and investigated whether this treatment protected trees against attack by the blue-stain fungus Ceratocystis polonica (Siem.) C. Moreau, the most important fungal associate of the spruce bark beetle Ips typographus L. Methyl jasmonate treatment induced the formation of traumatic resin ducts in the developing xylem, enhanced resin flow and stimulated increased accumulation of monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and diterpene resin acids. However, only minor changes were detected in terpene composition in response to MJ treatment and no changes in soluble phenolic concentration were measured. There was much variability in the timing and degree of response to MJ among clones. The observed chemical and anatomical changes in response to MJ treatment were correlated with increased resistance to C. polonica, suggesting that terpenoid oleoresin may function in defense against this pathogen.

Keywords: bark; defense responses; elicitor; inducible defenses; Ips typographus; monoterpene; phenolics; phloem; Pinaceae; stilbene; traumatic resin ducts

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Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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