Changes in the Glucosinolate

Changes in the glucosinolate-myrosinase defense system in Brassica juncea cotyledons during seedling development.
J Chem Ecol. 2002 Feb;28(2):243-56.
Wallace SK, Eigenbrode SD.
Department of Plant, Soil, and Entomological Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow 83844-2339, USA.

Optimal defense theory (ODT) predicts that plant defenses will be allocated to plant organs and tissues in proportion to their relative fitness values and susceptibilities to attack. This study was designed to test ODT predictions on the myrosinase-glucosinolate defense system in Brassica juncea by examining the relationships between the fitness value of B. juncea cotyledons and the levels and effectiveness of cotyledon defenses. Specifically, we estimated fitness value of cotyledons during plant development by measuring plant growth and seed production after cotyledon damage or removal at successive seedling ages. Cotyledon removal within five days of emergence had a significant impact on growth and seed production, but cotyledon removal at later stages did not. Consistent with ODT, glucosinolate and myrosinase levels in cotyledons also declined with seedling age, as did relative defenses against a generalist herbivore, Spodoptera eridania, as estimated by bioassay. Declines in glucosinolates were as predicted by a passive, allometric dilution model based on cotyledon expansion. Declines in myrosinase activity were significantly more gradual than predicted by allometric dilution, suggesting active retention of myrosinase activity as young cotyledons expand.