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The potential role of wound-activated volatile release in the chemical defence of the brown alga Dictyota dichotoma: Blend recognition by marine herbivores

Authors
  • Wiesemeier, Theresa1
  • Hay, Mark2
  • Pohnert, Georg1, 3
  • 1 Institutes of Chemical Sciences and Engineering / École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Laboratory of Chemical Ecology, Lausanne, CH-1015, Switzerland , Lausanne (Switzerland)
  • 2 Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Biology, Atlanta, Georgia, 30332 – 0230, USA , Atlanta (United States)
  • 3 Friedrich-Schiller-University, Institute for Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Bioorganic Analytics, Lessingstr. 8, Jena, D-07743, Germany , Jena (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Aquatic Sciences
Publisher
Birkhäuser-Verlag
Publication Date
Aug 08, 2007
Volume
69
Issue
3
Pages
403–412
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00027-007-0889-y
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

The chemical defence potential against herbivores of certain Dictyotalean brown algae increases after tissue disruption. This wound activated defence has been explored in bioassays, but the metabolic pathways behind it are unknown. Here we describe a metabolic profiling approach to identify the activated defence metabolites. Before and after tissue damage of Dictyota dichotoma modified diterpenes, non-volatile medium polar metabolites as well as volatile compounds were profiled. While comparison of extracted intact and mechanically wounded algae revealed no significant differences in structure and distribution of semi-volatile and reversed phase LC/MS detectable metabolites, a strong release of gaseous volatiles was observed. Solid phase micro extraction (SPME) and GC/MS were used for identification and quantification of these biogenic gases. This showed that D. dichotoma released elevated amounts of trimethylamine (TMA) and dimethylsulphide (DMS) after mechanical tissue damage. To study the ecological significance of compounds released post injury and of the biosynthetically connected non-volatile acrylate, choice assays were performed with the amphipod Amphithoe longimana. Behavioural assays on artificial diets did not reveal any repellent role for the single isolated metabolites. In strong contrast, a mixture of TMA, DMS and acrylate significantly reduced the association of the herbivores with the treated food pellets.This shows that mixtures of these biogenic gases and acrylate are recognized by the herbivores and influence food selection.

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