Jasmonate, salicylate, and benzoate in insect eggs

John F. Tooker, Consuelo M. De Moraes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Jasmonic acid (JA) and salicylic acid (SA) are key molecules in the initiation of plant defensive responses to attack by herbivores and pathogens, respectively. Our previous work has shown that JA occurs at high concentrations in eggs and neonates of lepidopteran species. Here, we extend our analyses to eggs of 15 non-lepidopteran insect species spanning eight orders, again screening for JA, but also including SA and one of its metabolic precursors, benzoic acid. We detected all three compounds in eggs of almost all the species examined. Moreover, concentrations of these compounds were variable across species, suggesting that species accumulate and/or utilize the compounds differently. Eggs of the fruit-feeding fly Rhagoletis pomonella contained the greatest concentrations of all three compounds, which appear to be common in fruit. The presence of these plant-derived compounds in eggs may serve defensive or other functions for insects, and could conceivably trigger plant defensive responses after oviposition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-343
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


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