Plant and Pest Science, School of Agriculture and Wine, University of Adelaide, PMB1, Glen Osmond, South Australia 5064, Australia
The induction of defense compounds in oats (Avena sativa) in response to invasion by parasitic nematodes and to application of the wound hormone methyl jasmonate was examined. Oats cv. Quoll seedlings were challenged with Pratylenchus neglectus, Heterodera avenae, and Ditylenchus dipsaci and treated with 1 × 10-4 M methyl jasmonate. Three compounds, isolated in methanolic root and shoot extracts of oats, exhibiting an absorbance spectrum typical of flavone glycosides, were induced by nematode invasion and methyl jasmonate. These were identified as flavone-C-glycosides by mass spectrometry. The effect of the flavone-C-glycosides on the invasion by and development of cereal cyst nematode H. avenae was assessed using methanolic extracts of shoots and roots from methyl jasmonate-treated plants. Both extracts impaired nematode invasion and development. When the extracts were fractionated by high voltage paper electrophoresis, only one flavone-C-glycoside, O-methyl-apigenin-C-deoxyhexoside-O-hexoside, inhibited nematode invasion. The protective effect of the induction of flavone-C-glycosides in oats by methyl jasmonate was evaluated against H. avenae and P. neglectus. Treatment with methyl jasmonate reduced invasion of both nematodes and increased plant mass, compensating for damage caused by the nematodes, and is attributed to the active flavone-C-glycoside. The active compound, O-methyl-apigenin-C-deoxyhexoside-O-hexoside, has not been implicated previously in plant defense against any pest or pathogen, and appears to provide protection against the major cereal nematodes Heterodera and Pratylenchus.