HIPVs; Silica; beet armyworm; interaction; semiochemical; jasmonic acid; Silicon; Animals; Female; Spodoptera; Oviposition; Herbivory; Larva; Zea mays; Silicon/pharmacology; Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics; Biochemistry; General Medicine
[en] Silicon (Si) fertilization alleviates biotic stresses in plants. Si enhances plant resistance against phytophagous insects through physical and biochemical mechanisms. In particular, Si modifies jasmonic acid levels and the emissions of herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs). Here, we investigated whether Si accumulation in the tissues of maize leaves modifies the emissions of constitutive and herbivore-induced plant volatiles, with cascade deterrent effects on oviposition site selection by Spodoptera exigua Hübner (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Maize plants were cultivated in a hydroponic system under three Si concentrations, resulting in three groups of plants expressing different Si concentrations in their tissues (0.31 ± 0.04, 4.69 ± 0.49, and 9.56 ± 0.30 g Si. Kg- 1 DW). We collected volatiles from undamaged and caterpillar-infested plants, and found that Si concentration in plant tissues had no significant impact. Jasmonic acid content was high in insect-infested plants, but was similar across all Si treatments. Oviposition site selection bioassays using fertilized S. exigua females showed that Si concentration in plant tissues did not affect the number of eggs laid on Si-treated plants. In conclusion, our study shows that the Si content in maize tissues does not impact the semiochemical interactions with S. exigua.