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Bacterial phylogeny predicts volatile organic compound composition and olfactory response of an aphid parasitoid

Bacterial phylogeny predicts volatile organic compound composition and olfactory response of an aphid parasitoid Thumbnail


Abstract

There is increasing evidence that microorganisms emit a wide range of volatile compounds (mVOCs, microbial volatile organic compounds) that act as insect semiochemicals, and therefore play an important role in insect behaviour. Although it is generally believed that phylogenetically closely related microbes tend to have similar phenotypic characteristics and therefore may elicit similar responses in insects, currently little is known about whether the evolutionary history and phylogenetic relationships among microorganisms have an impact on insect-microbe interactions. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that phylogenetic relationships among 40 Bacillus strains isolated from diverse environmental sources predicted mVOC composition and the olfactory response of the generalist aphid parasitoid Aphidius colemani . Results revealed that phylogenetically closely related Bacillus strains emitted similar blends of mVOCs and elicited a comparable olfactory response of A. colemani in Y-tube olfactometer bioassays, varying between attraction and repellence. Analysis of the chemical composition of the mVOC blends showed that all Bacillus strains produced a highly similar set of volatiles, but often in different concentrations and ratios. Benzaldehyde was produced in relatively high concentrations by strains that repel A. colemani , while attractive mVOC blends contained relatively higher amounts of acetoin, 2,3-butanediol, 2,3-butanedione, eucalyptol and isoamylamine. Overall, these results indicate that bacterial phylogeny had a strong impact on mVOC compositions and as a result on the olfactory responses of insects.

Acceptance Date May 27, 2020
Publication Date Jun 23, 2020
Journal Oikos
Print ISSN 0030-1299
Publisher Nordic Ecological Society
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/oik.07301
Keywords Aphidius colemani; Bacillus; phylogenetic signal; rpoB; semiochemical; VOCs
Publisher URL https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/oik.07301

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