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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #402504

Research Project: Omics-Based Approach to Detection, Identification, and Systematics of Plant Pathogenic Phytoplasmas and Spiroplasmas

Location: Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory

Title: Exploring changes in Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) profiles of tomato plants infected with phytoplasma

item IVANAUSKAS, ALGIRDAS - Nature Research Centre
item Zhang, Aijun
item Zhao, Yan
item Wei, Wei

Submitted to: Phytopathogenic Mollicutes
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/10/2023
Publication Date: 5/23/2023
Citation: Ivanauskas, A., Zhang, A., Zhao, Y., Wei, W. 2023. Exploring changes in Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) profiles of tomato plants infected with phytoplasma. Phytopathogenic Mollicutes. 13(1):5-6.

Interpretive Summary: Plants release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that are important in their interactions with diseases. This study investigated the changes in VOCs produced by tomato plants infected with potato purple top phytoplasma. ARS scientists located in Beltsville, Maryland compared the VOCs produced by infected plants to those produced by healthy plants using a technique called gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The study identified at least eight VOCs that were emitted differently between infected and control tomato plants. One VOC, a-copaene, which was present throughout the experiment but varied in amount during different stages of the disease. The study suggests that changes in VOC production could be used to identify plant diseases in the future. The findings provide new insights into how plant diseases develop and how plants protect themselves, which are beneficial for individuals, such as professors, researchers, and students who are interested in exploring the interaction between pathogens and plants.

Technical Abstract: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emitted by plants play a crucial role in plant-pathogen interactions. This study aimed to investigate the changes in VOC profiles of tomato plants infected with potato purple top (PPT) phytoplasma to better understand the role of each VOC in disease symptom development. VOC profiles were systematically compared between PPT phytoplasma-infected and control tomatoes using electron ionization (EI) coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Among the VOCs identified in the study, at least eight were differentially emitted by infected and control plants. This communication focuses on a single VOC, a-copaene, which was emitted over the entire course of our experiment, but its level differed in three different infection stages. Further studies will be performed to determine whether changes in VOC emission patterns could be used as a marker to diagnose plant diseases caused by phytoplasmas. This study provides new insights into the underlying mechanisms of phytoplasma pathogenesis and plant defence.