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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: FORAGE SYSTEMS FOR SUSTAINABLE ANIMAL PRODUCTION IN THE MID-SOUTH Title: Plant defences against herbivore and insect attack

Authors
item Schardl, C -
item Chen, F -

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Life Sciences
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 1, 2010
Publication Date: April 19, 2010
Citation: Schardl, C.L., and Chen, F. 2010. Plant defences against herbivore and insect attack. In: Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, Great Britain. Published online: doi:10.1002/9780470015902.a0001324.pub2.

Technical Abstract: Plants deploy a number of defences against attack by insects and other herbivores. Direct defence is conferred by plant products and structures that deter or kill the herbivores. Chemical toxins and deterrents vary widely among plant species, and some typical toxins include alkaloids, terpenoids, steroids, phenylpropanoids and precursor compounds that, on damage of the plant tissue, can be degraded to cyanide or other toxic molecules. Physical defences include thorns, barbs and unpalatable tissues. Other defences are indirect, such as defensive symbioses with microbes, harbouring protective ants or recruitment of parasitoids and predators that attack the herbivores. Recent experiments, and deployment of transgenic plants with Bt toxins, demonstrate the potential for novel plant defences in agriculture.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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