Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Brown, Ashli

Committee Member

Williams, Paul

Committee Member

Willard, Scott

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology


Maize (Zea mays) is an important agricultural crop frequently targeted by pests that pose a threat to plant development and survival. To deal with this problem, maize generates a wide variety of responses to attack by pests, from activation of woundresponse pathways to the release of volatile compounds. Several maize lines have been developed that show resistance to one common pest, the larvae of the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda). Analysis of the volatiles released by the resistant and susceptible lines in the presence and absence of the fall armyworm was conducted using SPME coupled to GC/MS. Caryophyllene, a commonly released plant volatile, was identified in the resistant line. In the susceptible line, caryophyllene was detected in smaller quantities or not at all. The results of a preference study demonstrated that fall armyworm larvae show a statistically significant preference for yellow-green whorl tissue from the susceptible over the resistant line.