Biotech Updates

Scientists Identify Natural Plant Compound that Can Protect Maize from Leafhoppers

August 7, 2013

A recent study by scientists from Rothamsted Research have shown that exposing maize plants to a natural plant product known as cis-Jasmone (CJ) can enhance their early defense against the leafhopper Cicadulina storeyi. The study was published in the journal PLOS 1.

Rothamsted researchers tested the potential of CJ to induce a defense response in maize plants. When young maize plants were pre-treated with CJ and then infested with leafhoppers, they released volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that repelled the insect pest. The effect of this response was strongest within the first few hours of infestation, i.e. before the pests alone would have caused such a response. When the blend of VOCs was analyzed for its chemical composition, it was indeed found that the CJ pre-treated plants emitted increased amounts of chemicals that are natural insect pest repellents.

See Rothamsted Research's news release at