Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1007/s11104-010-0635-4
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Title (Primary) Dual benefit from a belowground symbiosis: nitrogen fixing rhizobia promote growth and defense against a specialist herbivore in a cyanogenic plant
Author Thamer, S.; Sch├Ądler, M.; Bonte, D.; Ballhorn, D.J.
Journal Plant and Soil
Year 2011
Department BZF
Volume 341
Issue 1-2
Page From 209
Page To 219
Language englisch
Keywords Above-belowground interactions; Cyanogenesis; Ecosystem functions; Legumes; Nitrogen fixation; Symbiosis
Abstract Legume-associated nitrogen-fixing bacteria play a key role for plant performance and productivity in natural and agricultural ecosystems. Although this plant-microbe mutualism has been known for decades, studies on effects of rhizobia colonisation on legume-herbivore interactions are scarce. We hypothesized that additional nitrogen provided by rhizobia may increase plant resistance by nitrogen-based defense mechanisms. We studied this below-aboveground interaction using a system consisting of lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus L.), rhizobia, and the Mexican bean beetle (Epilachna varivestis Muls.) as an insect herbivore. We showed that the rhizobial symbiosis not only promotes plant growth but also improves plant defense and resistance against herbivores. Results of our study lead to the suggestion that nitrogen provided by rhizobia is allocated to the production of nitrogen-containing cyanogenic defense compounds, and thereby crucially determines the outcome of plant-herbivore interactions. Our study supports the view that the fitness benefit of root symbioses includes defence mechanisms and thus extends beyond the promotion of plant growth. Since the associations between legumes and nitrogen-fixing rhizobia are ubiquitous in terrestrial ecosystems, improved knowledge on rhizobia-mediated effects on plant traits?and the resulting effects on higher trophic levels?is important for better understanding of the role of these microbes for ecosystem functioning.
Persistent UFZ Identifier https://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=20939&ufzPublicationIdentifier=10859
Thamer, S., Sch├Ądler, M., Bonte, D., Ballhorn, D.J. (2011):
Dual benefit from a belowground symbiosis: nitrogen fixing rhizobia promote growth and defense against a specialist herbivore in a cyanogenic plant
Plant Soil 341 (1-2), 209 - 219