DL-β-aminobutyric acid (BABA) is a non-protein amino acid that is an effective inducer of resistance against a variety of plant pathogens. However, examples of BABA-induced resistance against insect herbivores have not been reported. We applied BABA as a soil drench to legumes and monitored its effects on the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris). On tic bean (Vicia faba var. minor), BABA increased aphid mortality, caused a reduction in the mean relative growth rate of individual insects and lessened the intrinsic rate of population increase (rm). BABA also caused significant reductions in the growth rate of A. pisum on pea (Pisum sativa), broad bean (Vicia faba var. major), runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus), red clover (Trifolium pratense) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa). No direct toxic effects of BABA against A. pisum were found, and no phytotoxic effects that may have caused a reduction in aphid performance were detected. Possible mechanisms behind this BABA-induced inhibition of aphid performance are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Insect Science