Parasitic plants - which make their living by extracting nutrients and other resources from other plants - are important components of many natural ecosystems; and some parasitic species are also devastating agricultural pests. To date, most research on plant parasitism has focused on nutrient transfer from host to parasite and the impacts of parasites on host plants. Far less work has addressed potential effects of the translocation of bioactive non-nutrient solutes - such as phytohormones, secondary metabolites, RNAs, and proteins - on the development and physiology of parasitic plants and on their subsequent interactions with other organisms such as insect herbivores. A growing number of recent studies document the transfer of such molecules from hosts to parasites and suggest that they may have significant impacts on parasite physiology and ecology. We review this literature and discuss potential implications for management and priorities for future research.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science