• Hordeum vulgare;
  • 11C;
  • barley;
  • carbon-11;
  • phloem loading;
  • root herbivory;
  • split-roots;
  • tolerance


It is known that shoot application of jasmonic acid (JA) leads to an increased carbon export from leaves to stem and roots, and that root treatment with JA inhibits root growth. Using the radioisotope 11C, we measured JA effects on carbon partitioning in sterile, split-root, barley plants. JA applied to one root half reduced carbon partitioning to the JA-treated tissue within minutes, whereas the untreated side showed a corresponding – but slower – increase. This response was not observed when instead of applying JA, the sink strength of one root half was reduced by cooling it: there was no enhanced partitioning to the untreated roots. The slower response in the JA-untreated roots, and the difference between the effect of JA and temperature, suggest that root JA treatment caused transduction of a signal from the treated roots to the shoot, leading to an increase in carbon allocation from the leaves to the untreated root tissue, as was indeed observed 10 min after the shoot application of JA. This supports the hypothesis that the response of some plant species to both leaf and root herbivores may be the diversion of resources to safer locations.