Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 12, 2010
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Over the course of the past two decades, insect pests such as the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) annually resulted in losses to US maize production exceeding one billion dollars. Despite the global significance of O. nubilalis and other stem borers, relatively little is known about the nature of plant recognition, induction of defense responses and potential manipulation of the plant physiological responses by these herbivores. Unlike leaf feeding larvae, late instar O. nubilalis live inside of the plant vasculature where a combination of frass and high humidity provides an ideal environment for microbial infection and subsequent plant disease. Metabolic profiling in maize stem tissues attacked by O. nubilalis revealed the presence of four unknown metabolites. Experimental infestations with treatments including undamaged controls, mechanical damage, O. nubilalis and Rhizopus microsporus (an opportunistic maize seed pathogen) demonstrated that biotic stress resulted in the strongest elicitation. Chemical characterization of the structures is currently underway using NMR and mass spectrometry. Characterization of potential defensive functions will also be examined using growth inhibition assays against both O. nubilalis and fungal pathogens.