MSc Brosset Agnès

30000 €

The effect of ozone on volatile interactions between neighbouring plants and insects

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Yksivuotinen

Prof. Haukioja made one of the earliest observation of plant-plant communication with birch trees in Finland. It is now established that plants are able to express anti-herbivore defences in response to chemical cues emitted by neighbouring plants. New research showed that plants could also be able to detect and prime their defences in response to insect-emitted chemical cues. The ability of plants to detect those insect-emitted cues opens a new research direction that we aim to investigate. Moreover, since the pre-industrial times, human activities have contributed to the augmentation of greenhouse gases and toxic pollutants in the troposphere. In the northern hemisphere, tropospheric ozone (O3) has increased by 50%. However, at elevated concentrations O3 affects seriously living organisms. The objective of the project is to determine if plant can perceive insect-emitted chemical cues and understand the mechanisms by which O3-polluted air disturb volatile-mediated plant-insect interactions. At the UEF, and in collaboration with Prof. Maffei from the University of Turin, we first investigate defensive responses of Brassica nigra plants after their exposition to the sex pheromone of Plutella xylostella moth, at physiological and transcriptomic levels. In a second time, the work examine how O3-polluted disrupt the chemical signals between insects and plants by using techniques from chemical ecology such as volatiles collection by dynamic headspace sampling, and olfactory tests.