Differential volatile emissions and salicylic acid levels from tobacco plants in response to different strains of Pseudomonas syringae

Juan Huang, Yasmin J. Cardoza, Eric A. Schmelz, Ramesh Raina, Jürgen Engelberth, James H. Tumlinson

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114 Scopus citations


Pathogen-induced plant responses include changes in both volatile and non-volatile secondary metabolites. To characterize the role of bacterial pathogenesis in plant volatile emissions, tobacco plants, Nicotiana tabacum L. K326, were inoculated with virulent, avirulent, and mutant strains of Pseudomonas syringae. Volatile compounds released by pathogen-inoculated tobacco plants were collected, identified, and quantified. Tobacco plants infected with the avirulent strains P. syringae pv. maculicola ES4326 (Psm ES4326) or pv. tomato DC3000 (Pst DC3000), emitted quantitatively different, but qualitatively similar volatile blends of (E)-β-ocimene, linalool, methyl salicylate (MeSA), indole, caryophyllene, β-elemene, α-farnesene, and two unidentified sesquiterpenes. Plants treated with the hrcC mutant of Pst DC3000 (hrcC, deficient in the type-III secretion system) released low levels of many of the same volatile compounds as in Psm ES4326- or Pst DC3000-infected plants, with the exception of MeSA, which occurred only in trace amounts. Interaction of the virulent pathogen P. syringae pv. tabaci (Pstb), with tobacco plants resulted in a different volatile blend, consisting of MeSA and two unidentified sesquiterpenes. Overall, maximum volatile emissions occurred within 36 h post-inoculation in all the treatments except for the Pstb infection that produced peak volatile emissions about 60 h post-inoculation. (E)-β-Ocimene was released in a diurnal pattern with the greatest emissions during the day and reduced emissions at night. Both avirulent strains, Psm ES4326 and Pst DC3000, induced accumulation of free salicylic acid (SA) within 6 h after inoculation and conjugated SA within 60 h and 36 h respectively. In contrast, SA inductions by the virulent strain Pstb occurred much later and conjugated SA increased slowly for a longer period of time, while the hrcC mutant strain did not trigger free and conjugated SA accumulations in amounts significantly different from control plants. Jasmonic acid, known to induce plant volatile emissions, was not produced in significantly higher levels in inoculated plants compared to the control plants in any treatments, indicating that induced volatile emissions from tobacco plants in response to P. syringae are not linked to changes in jasmonic acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-775
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Jasmonic acid
  • Nicotiana pseudomonas
  • Plant volatiles
  • Salicylic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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