Prone to attacks by pathogens and pests, plants employ intricate chemical defense mechanisms consisting of metabolic adaptations. However, many plant attackers are manipulating the host metabolism to counteract defense responses and to induce favorable nutritional conditions. Advances in analytical chemistry have allowed the generation of extensive metabolic profiles during plant-pathogen and pest interactions. Thereby, metabolic processes were found to be highly specific for given tissues, species, and plant-pathogen/pest interactions. The clusters of identified compounds not only serve as base in the quest of novel defense compounds, but also as markers for the characterization of the plants' defensive state. The latter is especially useful in agronomic applications where meaningful markers are essential for crop protection. Cereals such as maize make use of their metabolic arsenal during both local and systemic defense responses, and the chemical response is highly adapted to specific attackers. Here, we summarize highlights and recent findings of metabolic patterns of cereals under pathogen and pest attack.
Balmer, D., Flors, V., Glauser, G., & Mauch-Mani, B. (2013). Metabolomics of cereals under biotic stress: current knowledge and techniques. Frontiers in Plant Science, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2013.00082