Silicon reduces herbivore performance via different mechanisms, depending on host–plant species

Article


Frew, Adam, Weston, Leslie A. and Gurr, Geoff M.. 2019. "Silicon reduces herbivore performance via different mechanisms, depending on host–plant species." Austral Ecology: a journal of ecology in the Southern Hemisphere. 44 (6), pp. 1092-1097. https://doi.org/10.1111/aec.12767
Article Title

Silicon reduces herbivore performance via different mechanisms, depending on host–plant species

ERA Journal ID3204
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsFrew, Adam (Author), Weston, Leslie A. (Author) and Gurr, Geoff M. (Author)
Journal TitleAustral Ecology: a journal of ecology in the Southern Hemisphere
Journal Citation44 (6), pp. 1092-1097
Number of Pages6
Year2019
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Place of PublicationAustralia
ISSN1442-9985
1442-9993
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/aec.12767
Web Address (URL)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/aec.12767
Abstract

There is mounting evidence silicon (Si) can alter plant nutrient dynamics and is an important functional trait in plant defence and plant–insect ecology. Despite this, there remains a paucity in our understanding of how Si‐driven changes in nutritional quality can impact herbivore performance across different plant species. We investigated how Si alters plant nutritional quality and the concomitant effects on the performance of the Australian native generalist herbivore Helicoverpa punctigera feeding on three economically significant plant species of varying Si‐uptake ability: Brassica napus (non‐Si accumulator), Cucumis sativus (intermediate Si accumulator) and Sorghum bicolor (high Si accumulator). Si supplementation reduced the nutritional quality of B. napus but increased phosphorus concentrations in S. bicolor. Si reduced herbivore performance in all host–plant species, which correlated directly with Si concentrations in Si‐accumulating host plants C. sativus and S. bicolor. However, on B. napus, Si affected herbivore performance indirectly by reducing nutritional quality (foliar carbon:nitrogen ratio and phosphorus concentration). This suggests Si availability can affect herbivore performance directly via Si concentration on Si‐accumulating hosts, and indirectly via nutritional quality in a non‐Si accumulator. The resistance‐enhancing effects of Si on multiple species offer opportunity for agriculture to utilise this abundant element in sustainable management practices.

Keywordsherbivory, leaf stoichiometry, nutritional quality, plant defence, silicon
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020310399. Ecology not elsewhere classified
310899. Plant biology not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsCharles Sturt University
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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