Jasmonates are a class of plant hormones involved in plant defense and stress responses. For example, jasmonate-induced defense responses in Lycopersicon esculentum include increases in activity of proteinase inhibitors, polyphenol oxidases, and peroxidases. As part of our efforts to reduce or control greenhouse pest infestations, we hypothesized that methyl jasmonate (MeJA) could induce these biochemical changes in common greenhouse crops. We studied Impatiens wallerana `Super Elfin Pink', L. esculentum `Big Boy', Petunia ×hybrida `Bravo Lavendar', Viola ×wittrockiana `Imperial Beaconsfield', Coleus ×hybridus `Wizard Jade', Nicotiana alata `Saratoga Lime', Pelargonium ×hortorum `Pinto Pink', and Tagetes erecta `Antigua Primrose'. Polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase activity was studied in the first four species, and proteinase inhibitors were studied in all eight. We sprayed plants with 0, 5 × 10-6, or 10-4 molar MeJA and made measurements after 24 hours. We detected a small increase in polyphenol oxidase activity of plants treated with 10-4 molar MeJA; 5 × 10-6 molar had no effect, and L. esculentum had the highest polyphenol oxidase activity. Peroxidase activity was not affected by MeJA. I. wallerana had the highest peroxidase activity, L. esculentum and V. ×wittrockiana had the lowest. 5 × 10-6 molar MeJA increased proteinase inhibitor activity in most species, and 10-4 molar increased activity in every species except P. ×hortorum.
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