Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Significance of volatile compounds released by roots of cultivated plants for indirect defence against soil pests

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.00  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production   

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
biological control/multitrophic interactions/soil pests/wireworms/vegetables/indirect plant defence/volatiles/antioxidants/entomopathogenic nematodes/GC-MS/LC-MS/SPME/chemotaxis/olfactometer
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on July 17, 2024; A3 for period 2018-2022
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender, archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  208  2,565  2,153  10.35 
Scopus  278  3,180  2,672  9.61 
Researchers (16)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  35543  PhD Tanja Bohinc  Biotechnical sciences  Researcher  2021 - 2024  245 
2.  34332  PhD Marko Flajšman  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  163 
3.  56336  Eva Indihar    Technical associate  2023 - 2024  11 
4.  24445  PhD Mitja Križman  Chemistry  Researcher  2021 - 2024  152 
5.  28497  PhD Žiga Laznik  Plant production  Head  2021 - 2024  289 
6.  22714  Boštjan Medved    Technical associate  2023 - 2024 
7.  55376  Staš Miljuš  Biology  Researcher  2021 - 2022 
8.  56059  Matej Podgornik Milosavljević  Plant production  Technical associate  2022 
9.  57055  Mihaela Roškarič  Biotechnical sciences  Researcher  2022 - 2024  18 
10.  25866  Jaka Rupnik    Technical associate  2021 - 2024 
11.  37816  Mateja Šelih  Biology  Researcher  2021 - 2023  20 
12.  17763  PhD Stanislav Trdan  Biotechnical sciences  Researcher  2021 - 2024  1,112 
13.  28251  PhD Andreja Urbanek Krajnc  Biology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  228 
14.  19720  PhD Matej Vidrih  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  527 
15.  23589  PhD Filip Vučajnk  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  179 
16.  51953  PhD Jure Zekič  Civil engineering  Technical associate  2021 - 2024  13 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  67,254 
2.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  21,261 
3.  0482  University of Maribor, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences  Hoče  5089638004  9,966 
Plants in nature have developed various defence mechanisms against attacks by harmful organisms, these mechanisms are either indirect or direct. When attacked by harmful organisms, many plant species release volatile compounds (VOCs) which attract natural enemies of herbivores. VOCs have an important role in a multitrophic system, which consists of a plant, a herbivore and its natural enemy. Their function is a chemical signal which directly influence both herbivore and its natural enemy. Certain compounds are produced both by damaged and undamaged plants. VOCs released by plants affect organisms in rhizosphere at different trophic levels either as attractants or as repellents. Studies of VOCs released by roots necessitate the use of modern gas chromatography with mass spectrometric detection (GC-MS), since this technique enables detection and identification of compounds which are present in small quantities and concentrations. A quantitative and qualitative changes occur in certain metabolites of aboveground parts of the plants when roots are damaged by soil dwelling herbivore. Most of the plant induced responses to the biotic stress are systemic. Induced systemic resistance in plants against many pests has been correlated also with the synthesis and accumulation of antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes. Biological control is a way of controlling harmful organisms in agriculture and forestry by using living natural enemies (beneficial organisms) or pesticides of biological origins. It is directed toward protection, stimulation and targeted introduction of beneficial organisms outdoors or indoors. Biological preparations are ecologically more suitable, their effects are more specific, their formulation and application should be paid particular attention, and optimal times of application should be strictly observed. We are proposing the research that will focus on studying the chemical communication of indigenous and commercial strains of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) (Steinernema feltiae; S. carpocapsae; S. kraussei; Heterorhabditis bacteriophora) with damaged and undamaged roots of the red pepper (Capsicum annum), lettuce (Lactuca sativa) and horseradish (Armoracia rusticana). The roots will be exposed for damage to soil pests, namely wireworms (Agriotes spp., Elateridae). Goals of the study are (1) to enrich the existing knowledge about multitrophic communications in rhizosphere; (2) to detect the principal communicators with EPNs– a constitutive or herbivore induced plant metabolites; (3) to evaluate the potential of biologically active VOCs as agents in plant protection against soil pests; (4) to develop optimised procedures for sampling and analysis of semiochemicals on the selected organisms. The hypothesis is that a plant produces semiochemicals which trigger activity of EPNs as attractants. If confirmed, the results and gained knowledge can be exploited to develop pheromone capsules based on the main active compounds which would attract EPNs to the roots of plants in larger numbers and would thus ensure their better protecion. Knowledge about the communication between plants, herbivores, and their natural enemies is crucial for more efficient implementation and optimisation of biological control in food production systems.
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