Indirect effects of insect herbivory on leaf gas exchange in soybean

Mihai Aldea, Jason G. Hamilton, Joseph P. Resti, Arthur R. Zangerl, May R. Berenbaum, Evan H. DeLucia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Herbivory can affect plant carbon gain directly by removing photosynthetic leaf tissue and indirectly by inducing the production of costly defensive compounds or disrupting the movement of water and nutrients. The indirect effects of herbivory on carbon and water fluxes of soybean leaves were investigated using gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence and thermal imaging. Herbivory by Popillia japonica and Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) caused a 20-90% increase in transpiration from soybean leaflets without affecting carbon assimilation rates or photosynthetic efficiency (ΦPSII). Mechanical damage to interveinal tissue increased transpiration up to 150%. The spatial pattern of leaf temperature indicated that water loss occurred from injuries to the cuticle as well as from cut edges. A fluorescent tracer (sulforhodamine G) indicated that water evaporated from the apoplast approximately 100 μm away from the cut edges of damaged leaves. The rate of water loss from damaged leaves remained significantly higher than from control leaves for 6 d, during which time they lost 45% more water than control leaves (0.72 mol H2O per cm of damaged perimeter). Profligate water loss through the perimeter of damaged tissue indicates that herbivory may exacerbate water stress of soybeans under field conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-411
Number of pages10
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Chlorophyll fluorescence imaging
  • Glycine max
  • Herbivorous insects
  • Herbivory
  • Photosynthesis
  • Thermal imaging
  • Transpiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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