Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Entomology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/30/2002
Publication Date: 4/30/2004
Citation: Showler, A.T. 2004. Insect associations with stress-induced host plant free amino acids. In: Capinera, J.L., editor. Encyclopedia of Entomology Volume 2. 1st edition. Hingham, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 211-214.
Interpretive Summary: Plant physiochemical changes occur in association with environmental stresses to the plant. One change involves the accumulations of free amino acids in the plant, and these changes can be brought about by stresses, including drought and infection by diseases. The higher quantities of free amino acids have, in turn, been associated with differences in survival, reproduction, and general health of some herbivorous insects.
Technical Abstract: Various types of environmental stresses to plants are usually accompanied by changes in accumulations of free amino acids in the plants. This paper provides examples and principles associated with abiotic (e.g., water deficit) and biotic (pathogens and phytophagous nematodes) stresses to plants, and it provides other examples of abiotic and biotic stresses, and increased free amino acid levels, being associated with some phytophagous nematodes and insects. In such cases, the increased availability of readily accessible nitrogen appears to not only improve the chances of some disease organisms becoming established, but might also increase the likelihood of survival of insects feeding on the infected plants. Environmental stresses, whether biotic or abiotic, seem to affect the survival, fecundity, morphology, and vitality of some phytophagous insects through physiochemical processes mediated by corresponding changes in free amino acid accumulations in the host plant.