There are varieties of sweet potatoes that tell the other sweet potatoes of the enemy attack by “scent”
Plants tend to be thought of as not moving and interacting with other individuals, but some sweet potato varieties release certain odorous substances when invaded by external enemies and inform other individuals of danger. Turned out to be.
Volatile DMNT systemically induces jasmonate-independent direct anti-herbivore defense in leaves of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) plants | Scientific Reports
Sweet potato uses a single odor to warn its neighbors of insect attack
Sweet potatoes are a widely eaten crop in Asia, and there are many people in Japan who want to eat baked potatoes in winter. There are many varieties of such sweet potatoes. Among them, the variety called “ Tainong 57 ” was known to have a clearly higher resistance to herbivorous insects than other varieties.
Tainong 57 seems to have the property of releasing a special odor when attacked such as eating leaves, the research team of Max Planck Institute and National Taiwan University said that Tainong 57's resistance to insects etc. It was decided to investigate whether or not is related to this smell.
First, the research team investigated what reaction would occur when Tainong 57 was eaten by a foreign enemy. It turned out that a protein called sporamine was produced in the leaves of Tainong 57. However, sporamine was not generated directly in response to the attack, but was generated by the odorant released by Tainong 57 that had eaten leaves etc., as other resistant plants do. It seems that it was.
Sporamine is the main storage protein in the tuber of sweet potatoes, and at the same time, it inhibits the digestive enzymes of the enemy insects and has a function to lose appetite. Therefore, by generating sporamine, Tainong 57 can protect itself from foreign enemies.
According to the research team, the odorant that stimulates the production of sporamine consists of a single terpene compound called DMNT, and only DMNT promoted the production of sporamine. “DMNT is a terpene compound that smells like the herbal balm used in saunas,” explains Anja Meents , the main author of the paper.
Furthermore, it was found that DMNT affects not only the sweet potatoes that were attacked, but also neighboring sweet potatoes that were not directly attacked. Tainong 57 can respond quickly to increased DMNT concentrations in the surrounding area, responds to DMNT released when nearby sweet potatoes are attacked, and stores sporamin in the leaves to prepare for the attack about.
“Surprisingly, only one volatile substance, DMNT, was sufficient to elicit a specific defense response in Tainong 57. Furthermore, in communication that conveys important information about the invasion of foreign enemies, DMNT will be used, 'the research team pointed out. Also, other sweet potato varieties did not release high concentrations of DMNT when attacked, and sporamin production was not promoted even when DMNT concentrations increased.
Meents argues that cultivating varieties like Tainong 57 may be able to significantly improve the damage caused by herbivorous insects without pesticides. The research team continued to study Tainong 57 and said it would like to investigate in more detail how Tainong 57 recognizes DMNT and promotes a defense response.