Plants have evolved numerous constitutive and inducible defence mechanisms to cope with biotic and abiotic stresses. These stresses induce the expression of various genes to activate defence-related pathways that result in the release of defence chemicals. One of these defence mechanisms is the oxylipin pathway, which produces jasmonates, divinylethers and green leaf volatiles (GLVs) through the peroxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). GLVs have recently emerged as key players in plant defence, plant-plant interactions and plant-insect interactions. Some GLVs inhibit the growth and propagation of plant pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and fungi. In certain cases, GLVs released from plants under herbivore attack can serve as aerial messengers to neighbouring plants and to attract parasitic or parasitoid enemies of the herbivores. The plants that perceive these volatile signals are primed and can then adapt in preparation for the upcoming challenges. Due to their 'green note' odour, GLVs impart aromas and flavours to many natural foods, such as vegetables and fruits, and therefore, they can be exploited in industrial biotechnology. The aim of this study was to review the progress and recent developments in research on the oxylipin pathway, with a specific focus on the biosynthesis and biological functions of GLVs and their applications in industrial biotechnology.
Macaranga bancana is considered as a successful pioneer plant species. Usually found in disturbed and open areas, most of the current research focused on its relations with ants. One of the unique feature of the plants is that the seedling leaves are red, resembling and almost matching the background. Using a portable spectrometer, we measured the color reflectance of M. bancana seedlings (less than 20 cm in height). We also measured the leaf litter reflectance, adult M. bancana leaves and also seedlings of several other species found in the vicinity of M. bancana seedlings. The reflectances of M. bancana seedlings are very similar to that of the leaf litter background. We suggest that this cryptic coloration is crucial during the early stages of the plant when it still cannot rely on the protection of ants.
Understory plants in tropical forests often experience a low-light environment combined with high CO2 concentration. We hypothesized that the high CO2 concentration may compensate for leaf carbon loss caused by the low light, through increasing light-use efficiency of both steady-state and dynamic photosynthetic properties. To test the hypothesis, we examined CO2 gas exchange in response to an artificial lightfleck in Dipterocarpus sublamellatus Foxw. seedlings under contrasting CO2 conditions: 350 and 700 μmol CO2 mol(-1) air in a tropical rain forest, Pasoh, Malaysia. Total photosynthetic carbon gain from the lightfleck was about double when subjected to the high CO2 when compared with the low CO2 concentration. The increase of light-use efficiency in dynamic photosynthesis contributed 7% of the increased carbon gain, most of which was due to reduction of photosynthetic induction to light increase under the high CO2. The light compensation point of photosynthesis decreased by 58% and the apparent quantum yield increased by 26% at the high CO2 compared with those at the low CO2. The study suggests that high CO2 increases photosynthetic light-use efficiency under both steady-state and fluctuating light conditions, which should be considered in assessing the leaf carbon gain of understory plants in low-light environments.
There is accumulating evidence that similar suites of plant traits may affect leaf palatability and leaf litter decomposability. However, the possible association between leaf herbivory and litter decomposition rates across species in species-diverse natural ecosystems such as tropical rain forests remains unexplored, despite its importance in estimating the herbivory effects on carbon and nutrient cycling of ecosystems. We found no strong association between leaf herbivory and litter decomposition rates across 40 tree species in a Malaysian tropical rain forest, even though the leaf and litter traits were tightly correlated. This is because the leaf and litter traits related to herbivory and decomposition rates in the field were inconsistent. Leaf toughness accounted for only a small part of the variation in the herbivory rate, whereas a number of litter traits (the leaf mass per area, lignin to nitrogen ratio, and condensed tannin concentration) accurately predicted the decomposition rate across species. These results suggest that herbivory rate across species may not be strongly related to single leaf traits, probably because plant-herbivore interactions in tropical rain forests are highly diverse; on the other hand, plant-decomposer interactions are less specific and can be governed by litter chemicals. We also investigated two factors, phylogeny and tree functional types, that could affect the relationship between herbivory and decomposition across species. Phylogenetic relatedness among the species did not affect the relationship between herbivory and decomposition. In contrast, when the plants were segregated according to their leaf emergence pattern, we found a significant positive relationship between herbivory and decomposition rates for continuous-leafing species. In these species, the condensed tannin to N ratios in leaves and litter were related to herbivory and decomposition rates, respectively. However, we did not observe a similar trend for synchronous-leafing species. These results suggest that the relationship between herbivory and decomposition may be more greatly affected by functional types than by phylogenetic relatedness among species. In conclusion, our results suggest that well-defended leaves are not necessarily less decomposable litter in a tropical rain forest community, implying that herbivory may not generate positive feedback for carbon and nutrient cycling in this type of ecosystem.
The metabolite changes in three germplasm accessions of Malaysia Andrographis paniculata (Burm. F.) Nees, viz. 11265 (H), 11341 (P) and 11248 (T), due to their different harvesting ages and times were successfully evaluated by attenuated total reflectance (ATR)-Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and translated through multivariate data analysis of principal component analysis (PCA) and orthogonal partial least square-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA). This present study revealed the feasibility of ATR-FTIR in detecting the trend changes of the major metabolites - andrographolide and neoandrographolide - functional groups in A. paniculata leaves of different accessions. The harvesting parameter was set at three different ages of 120, 150 and 180 days after transplanting (DAT) and at two different time sessions of morning (7:30-10:30 am) and evening (2:30-5.30 pm).
A split plot 3 by 3 experiment was designed to investigate and distinguish the relationships among production of primary metabolites (soluble sugar and starch), secondary metabolites (total phenolics, TP; total flavonoids, TF) and leaf gas exchange of three varieties of the Malaysian medicinal herb Labisia pumila Blume, namely the varieties alata, pumila and lanceolata, under three levels of CO₂ enrichment (400, 800 and 1,200 µmol mol⁻¹) for 15 weeks. The treatment effects were solely contributed by CO₂ enrichment levels; no varietal differences were observed. As CO₂ levels increased from 400 to 1,200 µmol mol⁻¹, the production of carbohydrates also increased steadily, especially for starch more than soluble sugar (sucrose). TF and TP content, simultaneously, reached their peaks under 1,200 µmol exposure, followed by 800 and 400 µmol mol⁻¹. Net photosynthesis (A) and quantum efficiency of photosystem II (f(v)/f(m)) were also enhanced as CO₂ increased from 400 to 1,200 µmol mol⁻¹. Leaf gas exchange characteristics displayed a significant positive relationship with the production of secondary metabolites and carbohydrate contents. The increase in production of TP and TFs were manifested by high C/N ratio and low protein content in L. pumila seedlings, and accompanied by reduction in cholorophyll content that exhibited very significant negative relationships with total soluble sugar, starch and total non structural carbohydrate.
Plant litter represents a major basal resource in streams, where its decomposition is partly regulated by litter traits. Litter-trait variation may determine the latitudinal gradient in decomposition in streams, which is mainly microbial in the tropics and detritivore-mediated at high latitudes. However, this hypothesis remains untested, as we lack information on large-scale trait variation for riparian litter. Variation cannot easily be inferred from existing leaf-trait databases, since nutrient resorption can cause traits of litter and green leaves to diverge. Here we present the first global-scale assessment of riparian litter quality by determining latitudinal variation (spanning 107°) in litter traits (nutrient concentrations; physical and chemical defences) of 151 species from 24 regions and their relationships with environmental factors and phylogeny. We hypothesized that litter quality would increase with latitude (despite variation within regions) and traits would be correlated to produce 'syndromes' resulting from phylogeny and environmental variation. We found lower litter quality and higher nitrogen:phosphorus ratios in the tropics. Traits were linked but showed no phylogenetic signal, suggesting that syndromes were environmentally determined. Poorer litter quality and greater phosphorus limitation towards the equator may restrict detritivore-mediated decomposition, contributing to the predominance of microbial decomposers in tropical streams.
Anoectochilus sp. and Ludisia discolor are known as Jewel orchids. Both species are terrestrial wild orchids that grow in shaded areas of forests. The Jewel orchids are renowned for the beauty of their leaves, which are dark-green laced with silvery or golden veins. The orchids are used as a cure in various parts of Asia. Overharvesting and anthropogenic disturbances threaten the existence of the Jewel orchids in the wild, necessitating human intervention in their survival. An understanding of the structure and adaptations of a plant may assist in its survival when propagated outside of its habitat. In this study, ex vitro leaves of Anoectochilus sp. and L. discolor were subjected to freehand sectioning, and then inspected through brightfield and fluorescence microscopy. The study indicated that all parts of both plants presented typical monocotyledonous characteristics except the leaves. The leaves displayed dorsiventrality with distinct palisade and spongy mesophyll layers. The spongy mesophyll layer contained cells which fluoresced a bright red when exposed to ultraviolet, blue, and green light wavelengths, hinting at the presence of anthocyanins for photoprotection. Cyanidin was detected in the leaves of L. discolor, as enumerated through high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The observations indicated that Anoectochilus sp. and L. discolor are well-adapted to live under shaded conditions with minimal exposure to light.
Oil palm is grown in tropical soils with low bioavailability of Pi. A cDNA clone specifically expressed under phosphate-starvation condition in oil palm roots was identified as a high-affinity phosphate transporter (EgPHT1). The deduced amino acid sequence has 6 transmembrane domains each at the N- and C-termini separated by a hydrophilic linker. Comparison of promoter motifs within 1500 bp upstream of ATG of 10 promoters from high- and low-affinity phosphate transporter from both dicots and monocots including EgPHT1 was performed. The EgPHT1 promoter was fused to β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene and its activity was analysed by histochemical and fluorometric GUS assays in transiently transformed oil palm tissues and T3 homozygous transgenic Arabidopsis plants. In response to Pi-starvation, no GUS activity was detected in oil palm leaves, but a strong inducible activity was observed in the roots (1.4 times higher than the CaMV35S promoter). GUS was specifically expressed in transgenic Arabidopsis roots under Pi deficiency and starvation of the other macronutrients (N and K) did not induce GUS activity. Eight motifs including ABRERATCAL (abscisic-acid responsive), RHERPATEXPA7 (root hair-specific), SURECOREATSULTR11 (sulfur-deficiency response), LTRECOREATCOR15 (temperature-stress response), MYB2CONSENSUSAT and ACGTATERD1 (water-stress response) as well as two novel motifs, 3 (TAAAAAAA) and 26 (TTTTATGT) identified through pattern discovery, occur at significantly higher frequency (p
Amorphophallus bufo is a rarely studied plant in Malaysian tropical rainforests. We measured the spectral reflectance of different developmental stages of A. bufo (seedlings, juveniles and adults), background soil/ debris and leaves from other neighboring plant species. Results show that the leaves of A. bufo seedling have a similar reflectance curve as the background soil and debris. Adults and juveniles of A. bufo are similar to other neighboring plants' leaf colors. We hypothesize that the cryptic coloration of A. bufo seedlings plays an important role in camouflage and that the numerous black spots on the surface of the petioles and rachises, may serve as a defensive mimicry against herbivores.
The identification of plant metabolites is very important for the understanding of plant physiology including plant growth, development and defense mechanism, particularly for herbal medicinal plants. The metabolite profile could possibly be used for future drug discovery since the pharmacological activities of the indigenous herbs have been proven for centuries. An untargeted mass spectrometric approach was used to identify metabolites from the leaves and stems of Impatiens balsamina using LC-DAD-MS/MS. The putative compounds are mostly from the groups of phenolic, organic and amino acids which are essential for plant growth and as intermediates for other compounds. Alanine appeared to be the main amino acid in the plant because many alanine derived metabolites were detected. There are also several secondary metabolites from the groups of benzopyrones, benzofuranones, naphthoquinones, alkaloids and flavonoids. The widely reported bioactive components such as kaempferol, quercetin and their glycosylated, lawsone and its derivatives were detected in this study. The results also revealed that aqueous methanol could extract flavonoids better than water, and mostly, flavonoids were detected from the leaf samples. The score plots of component analysis show that there is a minor variance in the metabolite profiles of water and aqueous methanolic extracts with 21.5 and 30.5% of the total variance for the first principal component at the positive and negative ion modes, respectively.
The accumulation and removal efficiency of Fe by Centella asiatica was carried out at various Fe concentrations in soil treatments (0, 50, 100, 150 and 200 mg Fe/kg soil). Iron accumulation in different parts of C. asiatica (leaf, stem and root) was analyzed by atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAS). Factorial experiment with a completely randomized design and Duncan's test were used for data analyses. The results revealed that C. asiatica have the ability to uptake and accumulate Fe significantly (p plant, harvested for analysis, shows efficient accumulation of Fe at high concentration (p 1 and <1, respectively, further supporting its metal hyperaccumulator properties.
The use of periodical water stress and potassium fertilization may enhance rice tolerance to drought stress and improve the crop's instantaneous water use efficiency without much yield reduction. This study was conducted to assess the effects of different periodical water stress combined with potassium fertilization regimes on growth, yield, leaf gas exchanges and biochemical changes in rice grown in pots and compare them with standard local rice grower practices. Five treatments including (1) standard local grower's practice (control, 80CF = 80 kg K2O/ha + control flooding); (2) 120PW15 = 120 kg K2O/ha + periodical water stress for 15 days; (3) 120DS15V = 120 kg K2O/ha + drought stress for 15 days during the vegetative stage; (4) 120DS25V = 120 kg K2O/ha + drought stress for 25 days and (5) 120DS15R = 120 kg K2O/ha + drought stress for 15 days during the reproductive stage, were evaluated in this experiment. Control and 120PW15 treatments were stopped at 100 DAS, and continuously saturated conditions were applied until harvest. It was found that rice under 120PW15 treatment showed tolerance to drought stress evidenced by increased water use efficiency, peroxidase (POX), catalase (CAT) and proline levels, maximum efficiency of photosystem II (fv/fm) and lower minimal fluorescence (fo), compared to other treatments. Path coefficient analysis revealed that most of parameters contribute directly rather than indirectly to rice yield. In this experiment, there were four factors that are directly involved with rice yield: grain soluble sugar, photosynthesis, water use efficiency and total chlorophyll content. The residual factors affecting rice yield are observed to be quite low in the experiment (0.350), confirming that rice yield was mostly influenced by the parameters measured during the study.
Porous Carbon Nanoparticles (PCNs) with well-developed microporosity were obtained from bio-waste oil palm leaves (OPL) using single step pyrolysis in nitrogen atmosphere at 500-600 °C in tube-furnace without any catalysis support. The key approach was using silica (SiO2) bodies of OPL as a template in the synthesis of microporous carbon nanoparticles with very small particle sizes of 35-85 nm and pore sizes between 1.9-2 nm.
The effect of foliar salicylic acid (SA) applications (10⁻³ and 10⁻⁵ M) on activities of nitrate reductase, guaiacol peroxidase (POD), superoxide dismutases (SOD), catalase (CAT) and proline enzymes and physiological parameters was evaluated in two ginger varieties (Halia Bentong and Halia Bara) under greenhouse conditions. In both varieties, tested treatments generally enhanced photosynthetic rate and total dry weight. Photosynthetic rate increases were generally accompanied by increased or unchanged stomatal conductance levels, although intercellular CO₂ concentrations of treated plants were typically lower than in controls. Lower SA concentrations were generally more effective in enhancing photosynthetic rate and plant growth. Exogenous application of SA increased antioxidant enzyme activities and proline content; the greatest responses were obtained in plants sprayed with 10⁻⁵ M SA, with significant increases observed in CAT (20.1%), POD (45.2%), SOD (44.1%) and proline (43.1%) activities. Increased CAT activity in leaves is naturally expected to increase photosynthetic efficiency and thus net photosynthesis by maintaining a constant CO₂ supply. Our results support the idea that low SA concentrations (10⁻⁵ M) may induce nitrite reductase synthesis by mobilizing intracellular NO³⁻ and can provide protection to nitrite reductase degradation in vivo in the absence of NO³⁻. Observed positive correlations among proline, SOD, CAT and POD activities in the studied varieties suggest that increased SOD activity was accompanied by increases in CAT and POD activities because of the high demands of H₂O₂ quenching.
In common with most of Borneo, the Bakun region of Sarawak is currently subject to heavy deforestation mainly due to logging and, to a lesser extent, traditional slash-and-burn farming practices. This has the potential to affect stream ecosystems, which are integrators of environmental change in the surrounding terrestrial landscape. This study evaluated the effects of both types of deforestation by using functional and structural indicators (leaf litter decomposition rates and associated detritivores or 'shredders', respectively) to compare a fundamental ecosystem process, leaf litter decomposition, within logged, farmed and pristine streams. Slash-and-burn agricultural practices increased the overall rate of decomposition despite a decrease in shredder species richness (but not shredder abundance) due to increased microbial decomposition. In contrast, decomposition by microbes and invertebrates was slowed down in the logged streams, where shredders were less abundant and less species rich. This study suggests that shredder communities are less affected by traditional agricultural farming practices, while modern mechanized deforestation has an adverse effect on both shredder communities and leaf breakdown.
Basal stem rot (BSR) disease caused by the fungus Ganoderma boninense is the most serious disease affecting the oil palm; this is because the disease escapes the early disease detection. The biocontrol agent Trichoderma harzianum can protect the disease only at the early stage of the disease. In the present study, the expression levels of three oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) chitinases encoding EgCHI1, EgCHI2, and EgCHI3 at 2, 5, and 8 weeks inoculation were measured in oil palm leaves from plants treated with G. boninense or T. harzianum alone or both.
Madagascar periwinkle is an ornamental and a medicinal plant, and is also an indicator plant that is highly susceptible to phytoplasma and spiroplasma infections from different crops. Periwinkle lethal yellows, caused by Spiroplasma citri, is one of the most devastating diseases of periwinkle. The response of plants to S. citri infection is very little known at the transcriptome level. In this study, quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) was used to investigate the expression levels of four selected genes involved in defense and stress responses in naturally and experimentally Spiroplasma citri infected periwinkles. Strictosidine β-glucosidase involved in terpenoid indole alkaloids (TIAs) biosynthesis pathway showed significant upregulation in experimentally and naturally infected periwinkles. The transcript level of extensin increased in leaves of periwinkles experimentally infected by S. citri in comparison to healthy ones. A similar level of heat shock protein 90 and metallothionein expression was observed in healthy, naturally and experimentally spiroplasma-diseased periwinkles. Overexpression of Strictosidine β-glucosidase demonstrates the potential utility of this gene as a host biomarker to increase the fidelity of S. citri detection and can also be used in breeding programs to develop stable disease-resistance varieties.
Use of phosphate-solubilizing bacteria (PSB) as inoculants has concurrently increased phosphorous uptake in plants and improved yields in several crop species. The ability of PSB to improve growth of aerobic rice (Oryza sativa L.) through enhanced phosphorus (P) uptake from Christmas island rock phosphate (RP) was studied in glasshouse experiments. Two isolated PSB strains; Bacillus spp. PSB9 and PSB16, were evaluated with RP treatments at 0, 30 and 60 kg ha(-1). Surface sterilized seeds of aerobic rice were planted in plastic pots containing 3 kg soil and the effect of treatments incorporated at planting were observed over 60 days of growth. The isolated PSB strains (PSB9 and PSB16) solubilized significantly high amounts of P (20.05-24.08 mg kg(-1)) compared to non-inoculated (19-23.10 mg kg(-1)) treatments. Significantly higher P solubilization (24.08 mg kg(-1)) and plant P uptake (5.31 mg plant(-1)) was observed with the PSB16 strain at the highest P level of 60 kg ha(-1). The higher amounts of soluble P in the soil solution increased P uptake in plants and resulted in higher plant biomass (21.48 g plant(-1)). PSB strains also increased plant height (80 cm) and improved root morphology in aerobic rice. The results showed that inoculation of aerobic rice with PSB improved phosphate solubilizing activity of incorporated RP.
A split plot 3 by 3 experiment was designed to investigate the relationships among production of primary metabolites (soluble sugar and starch), secondary metabolites (total flavonoids, TF; total phenolics, TP), phenylalanine lyase (PAL) activity (EC 18.104.22.168), protein and antioxidant activity (FRAP) of three progenies of oil palm seedlings, namely Deli AVROS, Deli Yangambi and Deli URT, under three levels of CO₂ enrichment (400, 800 and 1,200 μmol·mol⁻¹) for 15 weeks of exposure. During the study, the treatment effects were solely contributed by CO₂ enrichment levels; no progenies and interaction effects were observed. As CO₂ levels increased from 400 to 1,200 μmol·mol⁻¹, the production of carbohydrate increased steadily, especially for starch more than soluble sugar. The production of total flavonoids and phenolics contents, were the highest under 1,200 and lowest at 400 μmol·mol⁻¹. It was found that PAL activity was peaked under 1,200 μmol·mol⁻¹ followed by 800 μmol·mol⁻¹ and 400 μmol·mol⁻¹. However, soluble protein was highest under 400 μmol·mol⁻¹ and lowest under 1,200 μmol·mol⁻¹. The sucrose/starch ratio, i.e., the indication of sucrose phosphate synthase actvity (EC 22.214.171.124) was found to be lowest as CO₂ concentration increased from 400 > 800 > 1,200 μmol·mol⁻¹. The antioxidant activity, as determined by the ferric reducing/antioxidant potential (FRAP) activity, increased with increasing CO₂ levels, and was significantly lower than vitamin C and α-tocopherol but higher than butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). Correlation analysis revealed that nitrogen has a significant negative correlation with carbohydrate, secondary metabolites and FRAP activity indicating up-regulation of production of carbohydrate, secondary metabolites and antioxidant activity of oil palm seedling under elevated CO₂ was due to reduction in nitrogen content in oil palm seedling expose to high CO₂ levels.