Nonglandular silicified trichomes are essential for rice defense against chewing herbivores

Joackin B. Andama, Kadis Mujiono, Yuko Hojo, Tomonori Shinya, Ivan Galis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Interspecific New Rice for Africa (NERICA) varieties have been recently developed and used in Sub-Saharan Africa but herbivore resistance properties of these plants remain poorly understood. Here we report that, compared to a local Japanese cultivar Nipponbare, NERICA 1, 4 and 10 are significantly more damaged by insect herbivores in the paddy fields. In contrast to high levels of leaf damage from rice skippers and grasshoppers, constitutive and induced volatile organic compounds for indirect plant defense were higher or similar in NERICAs and Nipponbare. Accumulation of direct defense secondary metabolites, momilactones A and B, and p-coumaroylputrescine (CoP) was reduced in NERICAs, while feruloylputrescine accumulated at similar levels in all varieties. Finally, we found that Nipponbare leaves were covered with sharp nonglandular trichomes impregnated with silicon but comparable defense structures were virtually absent in herbivory-prone NERICA plants. As damage to the larval gut membranes by Nipponbare silicified trichomes that pass intact through the insect digestive system, occurs, and larval performance is enhanced by trichome removal from otherwise chemically defended Nipponbare plants, we propose that silicified trichomes work as an important defense mechanism of rice against chewing insect herbivores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2019-2032
Number of pages14
JournalPlant Cell and Environment
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2020


  • Oryza sativa
  • defense
  • herbivory
  • silicon
  • trichome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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