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European corn borer injury effects on lignin, carbon and nitrogen in corn tissues

Yanni, S.F., Whalen, J.K., Ma, B.L., Gelinas, Y. (2011). European corn borer injury effects on lignin, carbon and nitrogen in corn tissues, 341(1-2), 165-177.


Plant herbivores often stimulate lignin deposition in injured plant tissue, but it is not known whether corn (Zea mays L.) reacts to European corn borer (ECB, Ostrinia nubilalis Hubner) injury in this manner. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) genetic modification is also reported to affect lignin in corn. This study evaluated the effects of ECB injury and the Bt gene on the chemical composition and decomposition of corn tissues. Eight near isolines (Bt and NBt) were grown in pots and half were infested with ECB. The experiment was repeated in 2 years. ECB injury increased the lignin concentration in corn leaves in one of 2 years and lowered the C:N ratio in injured stems. Lignin concentration in leaves was greater in Bt than NBt corn in 1 year and Bt stems had greater N concentration than NBt stems in 1 year of the 2 year study. ECB injury affected the composition of lignin-derived phenols, however ECB infested and non-infested stems lost the same amount of mass after 5 months in buried field litterbags. In conclusion ECB injury and the Bt gene had subtle effects on the chemical composition of corn tissue, which did not alter the short-term decomposition of corn residues. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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