The cost of plant defense: an experimental analysis with inducible proteinase inhibitors in tomato

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The cost of producing inducible proteinase inhibitors was investigated by manipulating their production with chitin injections in genetically homogeneous tomato plants grown at different nitrogen levels. Proteinase inhibitor production had no detectable effect on fitness-related characters, probably because it represented only a small portion of the nitrogen budget. Nitrogen availability did not influence inhibitor production or its impact on plant fitness.