Defence activation in strawberry and pine- Epigenetic changes in treated plants

University essay from KTH/Skolan för kemivetenskap (CHE)

Abstract: Strawberry plants (Fragaria x ananassa) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) represent species, withinagriculture and forestry respectively, that are traditionally protected by utilization of pesticidesincluding neurotoxic insecticides. More environmentally friendly protection strategies are thereforehighly desirable. Treating plants with specific metabolites naturally occurring in their tissues might alterepigenetic mechanisms, which in turn may strengthen plants self-defense against diseases and weevilattacks. F. x ananassa and P. sylvestris seeds were treated with 2,5 mM nicotinamide and 2,5 mMnicotinic acid in order to investigate possible epigenetical effects by analyzing changes in the level ofthe DNA methylation. The epigenetic changes, for both plants, were analyzed on the global DNA level.Reduction in the DNA methylation level in strawberry leaves as well as the DNA methylation increase inpine needles were observed by means of LUMA-analysis when HpaII restriction enzyme was used in theanalysis. Further investigation is required in order to understand if NIC and NIA may have a significantimpact on pathogen attack in strawberry plants and Scots pine. More research may also unveil ifnicotinamide and nicotinic acid can play a potential role in more sustainable defense strategies ofplants.

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