Induced resistance in soybean to Helicoverpa zea: Role of plant protein quality

J. L. Bi, G. W. Felton, A. J. Mueller

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61 Scopus citations


Resistance in soybean to Helicoverpa zea is comprised of both constitutive and inducible factors. In this study, we investigated the induction of resistance by H. zea in both greenhouse and field studies. In a greenhouse experiment, fourth-instar H. zea growth rates were reduced by 39% after 24 hr feeding and by 27% after 48 hr when larvae fed on previously wounded V3 foliage (cv. Forrest) compared with undamaged foliage. In a field study, the weight gain by larvae was more than 52% greater when larvae fed for 72 hr on undamaged R2/R3 soybean plants (cv. Braxton) compared to those that fed on previously wounded plants. A significant component of the induced resistance is due to a decline in the nutritional quality of foliar protein following foliar damage by H. zea. Foliar protein was extracted from damaged and undamaged foliage and incorporated into artificial diets. Larval growth was reduced 26% after four days and 49% after seven days on diets containing protein from damaged plants compared to larvae feeding on foliar protein from undamaged plants. Chemical analyses of protein quality also indicated a decline in quality in damaged plants compared to unwounded plants. Increases in lipoxygenase activity (53%), lipid peroxidation products (20%), and trypsin inhibitor content (34%) were observed in protein from wounded plants. Moreover, a 5.9% loss in free amines and 19% loss in total thiols occurred in protein from wounded plants. Larval feeding causes a significant increase in foliar lipoxygenase activity that varied among genotypes. Lipoxygenase isozymes were measured at pH 5.5, pH 7.0, and pH 8.5 in V3 stage plants of Forrest, Hark, D75-1069, and PI 417061 genotypes. Lipoxygenase activity in each genotype was significantly increased after 72 hr of larval feeding at each pH level tested, with the exception of lipoxygenase isozymes at pH 5.5 in genotype PI 417061. Larval feeding on R2/R3 stage plants (field-grown cv. Braxton) for six days also increased foliar lipoxygenase activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-198
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


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