Silica and nitrogen modulate physical defense against chewing insect herbivores in bioenergy crops miscanthus × giganteus and Panicum virgatum (Poaceae)

P. D. Nabity, R. Orpet, S. Miresmailli, May R Berenbaum, Evan H Delucia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Feedstock crops selected for bioenergy production to date are almost exclusively perennial grasses because of favorable physiological traits that enhance growth, water use, and nutrient assimilation efficiency. Grasses, however, tend to rely primarily on physical defenses, such as silica, to deter herbivores. Silica impedes processing of feedstocks and introduces a trade-off between managing for cost efficiency (i.e., yield) and plant defenses. To test how silica modulates herbivory in two of the most preferred feedstock crops for production across the central United States, miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus Greef and Deuter ex Hodkinson and Renvoize) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), we examined the performance of two immature generalist insect herbivores, fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) and the American grasshopper [Schistocerca americana (Drury)], on grasses grown under silica and nitrogen amendment. Both miscanthus and switchgrass assimilated nitrogen and silica when grown in amended soil that altered the consumption and conversion efficiency of herbivores consuming leaf tissue. The magnitude of nutrient assimilation, however, depended on intrinsic plant traits. Nitrogen increased conversion efficiency for both fall armyworm and American grasshopper but increased consumption rate only for fall armyworm. Silica reduced conversion efficiency and increased consumption rate only for the American grasshopper. Because of this variability, management strategies that reduce silica or increase nitrogen content in feedstock crops to enhance yields may directly influence the ability of bioenergy grasses to deter certain generalist herbivores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)878-883
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Economic Entomology
Volume105
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2012

Fingerprint

physical defense
Miscanthus giganteus
Panicum virgatum
energy crops
bioenergy
mastication
silica
Poaceae
Schistocerca americana
herbivore
herbivores
insect
Spodoptera frugiperda
insects
crop
feedstocks
nitrogen
grasshopper
grass
grasses

Keywords

  • biofuel feedstock
  • fertilization
  • herbivory
  • Schistocerca americana
  • spodoptera frugiperda

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Ecology

Cite this

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title = "Silica and nitrogen modulate physical defense against chewing insect herbivores in bioenergy crops miscanthus × giganteus and Panicum virgatum (Poaceae)",
abstract = "Feedstock crops selected for bioenergy production to date are almost exclusively perennial grasses because of favorable physiological traits that enhance growth, water use, and nutrient assimilation efficiency. Grasses, however, tend to rely primarily on physical defenses, such as silica, to deter herbivores. Silica impedes processing of feedstocks and introduces a trade-off between managing for cost efficiency (i.e., yield) and plant defenses. To test how silica modulates herbivory in two of the most preferred feedstock crops for production across the central United States, miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus Greef and Deuter ex Hodkinson and Renvoize) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), we examined the performance of two immature generalist insect herbivores, fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) and the American grasshopper [Schistocerca americana (Drury)], on grasses grown under silica and nitrogen amendment. Both miscanthus and switchgrass assimilated nitrogen and silica when grown in amended soil that altered the consumption and conversion efficiency of herbivores consuming leaf tissue. The magnitude of nutrient assimilation, however, depended on intrinsic plant traits. Nitrogen increased conversion efficiency for both fall armyworm and American grasshopper but increased consumption rate only for fall armyworm. Silica reduced conversion efficiency and increased consumption rate only for the American grasshopper. Because of this variability, management strategies that reduce silica or increase nitrogen content in feedstock crops to enhance yields may directly influence the ability of bioenergy grasses to deter certain generalist herbivores.",
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T1 - Silica and nitrogen modulate physical defense against chewing insect herbivores in bioenergy crops miscanthus × giganteus and Panicum virgatum (Poaceae)

AU - Nabity, P. D.

AU - Orpet, R.

AU - Miresmailli, S.

AU - Berenbaum, May R

AU - Delucia, Evan H

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AB - Feedstock crops selected for bioenergy production to date are almost exclusively perennial grasses because of favorable physiological traits that enhance growth, water use, and nutrient assimilation efficiency. Grasses, however, tend to rely primarily on physical defenses, such as silica, to deter herbivores. Silica impedes processing of feedstocks and introduces a trade-off between managing for cost efficiency (i.e., yield) and plant defenses. To test how silica modulates herbivory in two of the most preferred feedstock crops for production across the central United States, miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus Greef and Deuter ex Hodkinson and Renvoize) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), we examined the performance of two immature generalist insect herbivores, fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) and the American grasshopper [Schistocerca americana (Drury)], on grasses grown under silica and nitrogen amendment. Both miscanthus and switchgrass assimilated nitrogen and silica when grown in amended soil that altered the consumption and conversion efficiency of herbivores consuming leaf tissue. The magnitude of nutrient assimilation, however, depended on intrinsic plant traits. Nitrogen increased conversion efficiency for both fall armyworm and American grasshopper but increased consumption rate only for fall armyworm. Silica reduced conversion efficiency and increased consumption rate only for the American grasshopper. Because of this variability, management strategies that reduce silica or increase nitrogen content in feedstock crops to enhance yields may directly influence the ability of bioenergy grasses to deter certain generalist herbivores.

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