Emission of volatile organic chemicals in Lantana

Heshula L.U.P (Rhodes University) and Wheeler G. S. (Invasive Plant Research Laboratory)

Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) play an important role in mediating plant insect interactions, and could provide valuable insight into agents’ behaviour in weed biological control.

Mechanical damage studies provide a quick way to detect any volatile organic chemical changes, and are a useful tool to stimulate herbivory.

Experiments to measure the quantitative and qualitative effects on volatile organic chemicals emission were conducted by imposing mechanical damage to leaves of intact Lantana camara plants.

Results showed a general increase in total VOCs emitted after damage on day 2, with cut leaf damage and punctured leaf damaged treatments increasing by 92% and 45% respectively, compared to undamaged leaves measured on day 1, demonstrating the phenotypic plasticity of this weed.

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