Jasmonic Acid and Salicylic Acid Levels in Defense Response of Azalea (Rhododendron simsii Hybrid) to Broad Mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus)

Leen Leus, Gil Luypaert, Emmy Dhooghe, Johan Witters, Els Pauwels, Christof Van Poucke, Els Van Pamel, Johan Van Huylenbroeck, Joachim Audenaert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks)) is an important pest in many crops, including azalea (Rhododendron simsii Planch. hybrid). Broad mites cause the malformation of shoot tips, leaves and flowers in azalea. It is known that the jasmonic acid (JA)- and salicylic acid (SA)-dependent signaling pathways are related to the presence of herbivorous mites. Here, we describe the levels of the two main plant defense-related hormones, SA and JA, in mite-infested plants. The plant hormones were analyzed using liquid chromatography combined with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). We studied both short-term hormonal responses under controlled conditions with artificial inoculation, and long-term responses under culture conditions with natural infestation. The long-term development of broad mite populations and hormone response were studied during two subsequent growing seasons on 3 and 18 different cultivars, respectively. During the experiments on 18 azalea cultivars under natural infestation, the presence of different species of tarsonemid mites was also examined. JA concentrations only showed variation in the early phase of infestation. Subsequently, the SA levels increased significantly for all the cultivars where broad mites were detected. Based on the observed timing of the defense responses, we suggest that the interaction of the JA and SA pathways as a defense response for pot azalea against P. latus involves a primary plant response through the JA pathway. In the presence of the mites, the production of SA increased in the plants in a later phase as the P. latus population grew. Our results also show that the hormone response depends on type of mite. Changes in hormone levels were found upon infestation with P. latus, but not in the presence of another frequently occurring tarsonemid mite, Tarsonemus confusus Ewing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number840
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1-Sept-2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Jasmonic Acid and Salicylic Acid Levels in Defense Response of Azalea (Rhododendron simsii Hybrid) to Broad Mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this