Lec11 - Plant Defense.doc

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22 Apr 2012
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Plant Defence
Slide One plant defence
Plants feed the world, but they do not want to
Plant defence mechanisms
Arms race between plants and herbivores
Slide Two plants feed the world
All non-plants depend directly or indirectly on plant food
Every plant is under constant threat of attack (=herbivory)
Slide Three herbivory
Most widespread plant-animal interaction
Often least visible
o Especially insects are feeding on plants day and life
Slide Four caterpillars
Starts as an egg on the leaf
Inside the leaf it feeds away from predators
Once an adult it leaves the leaf
Slide Five molluscs
Slide Six reptiles
Turtles
Dinosaurs
Slide Seven / Nine mammals of all sizes
Slide Ten plant defence
Plant defence mechanisms
Slide Eleven plants don’t want to get eaten!
Two main mechanisms of defence
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o Mechanical defence
Structural weapons
Tissues and organs
o Chemical defence
Toxins in plant tissues
Secondary compounds (toxins)
Some plants combine both mechanisms
Slide Twelve primary vs secondary compounds
Primary compounds:
o Products of
Photosynthesis
Protein synthesis
Carbohydrates
Proteins
Starches
Cellulose
Essential to normal cellular function and life in general
Secondary compounds
o Products have no known direct function in basic metabolism
Slide Thirteen role of secondary compounds
Initially thought secondary compounds were waste products / end products of metabolism
o BUT:
Huge complexity of compounds / strict control of synthesis
o Why control synthesis if it is only waste product?
chemical weapons against herbivores
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