Seven antifeedant sesquiterpene lactones (STLs), 4,5-dihydroniveusin A, argophyllin B, argophyllin A, 15-hydroxy-3-dehydrodesoxytifruticin, niveusin B, 1,2-anhydridoniveusin A, and an unidentified epoxide, in cultivated sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) have been quantified by a highperformance thin-layer chromatography and UV-reflectance scanning densitometry analysis. Age-related expression of STL content in sunflower reveals a heretofore undescribed pattern in which nonpolar STLs such as 15-hydroxy-3-dehydrodesoxytifruticin predominate up to an age of three weeks, but are subsequently displaced by polar STLs, especially argophyllin A, through later foliar stages and anthesis. This leaf pattern of STL ontogeny is maintained in three widely different H. annuus cultivars (Giant Gray Stripe, Royal Hybrid 2141, Hybrid 7111), which in turn had similar total contents of STLs. Antifeedant activity for western corn rootworm was positively correlated with STL content, particularly with argophyllin A and its isomer argophyllin B, in respective tissue extracts. Enhanced amounts of highly antifeedant argophyllins, especially in newly grown leaf and floral tissues yielding sunflower progeny, strongly suggest that these epoxy-STLs are a chemical defense against insect herbivory.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics