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- MATERIALS AND METHODS
Fitness costs of resistance are among the most widely discussed explanations for the evolution of induced resistance, but studies on induced resistance to pathogens are scarce and contradictory. In the present study the influence of nitrogen supply, length of the growing period and competition on the seed production of Arabidopsis in response to treatment with the chemical resistance elicitor BION® was investigated. BION® treatment elicited resistance to the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae, and biochemical changes after BION® treatment were similar to those observed after bacterial infection. Induced plants grew more slowly during the first week after resistance induction, for which they then compensated by exhibiting faster growth than controls. Whether or not induced plants produced less seeds than controls depended on growing conditions. Costs, no costs and even higher seed production by induced plants were observed in experiments differently combining abiotic conditions. A higher seed production by induced plants arose particularly when the vegetation period was short, most probably a consequence of senescence-related processes that had been activated by resistance elicitation. Induced plants, however, produced less seeds when competing with controls and experiencing a full growing period. Studies controlling only some of the critical environmental factors can easily lead to apparently contradictory results, which in fact represent different outcomes of a complex interplay of factors.