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Metabolite Profiling Reveals a Specific Response in Tomato to Predaceous Chrysoperla carnea Larvae and Herbivore(s)-Predator Interactions with the Generalist Pests Tetranychus urticae and Myzus persicae.

The spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch and the aphid Myzus persicae (Sulzer) both infest a number of economically significant crops, including tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). Although used for decades to control pests, the impact of green lacewing larvae Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) on plant biochemistry was not investigated. Here, we used profiling methods and targeted analyses to explore the impact of the predator and herbivore(s)-predator interactions on tomato biochemistry. Each pest and pest-predator combination induced a characteristic metabolite signature in the leaf and the fruit thus, the plant exhibited a systemic response. The treatments had a stronger impact on non-volatile metabolites including abscisic acid and amino acids in the leaves in comparison with the fruits. In contrast, the various biotic factors had a greater impact on the carotenoids in the fruits. We identified volatiles such as myrcene and α-terpinene which were induced by pest-predator interactions but not by single species, and we demonstrated the involvement of the phytohormone abscisic acid in tritrophic interactions for the first time. More importantly, C. carnea larvae alone impacted the plant metabolome, but the predator did not appear to elicit particular defense pathways on its own. Since the presence of both C. carnea larvae and pest individuals elicited volatiles which were shown to contribute to plant defense, C. carnea larvae could therefore contribute to the reduction of pest infestation, not only by its preying activity, but also by priming responses to generalist herbivores such as T. urticae and M. persicae. On the other hand, the use of C. carnea larvae alone did not impact carotenoids thus, was not prejudicial to the fruit quality. The present piece of research highlights the specific impact of predator and tritrophic interactions with green lacewing larvae, spider mites, and aphids on different components of the tomato primary and secondary metabolism for the first time, and provides cues for further in-depth studies aiming to integrate entomological approaches and plant biochemistry.

Errard, A.; Ulrichs, Ch.; Kühne, S.; Mewis, I.; Mishig, N.; Maul, R.; Drungowski, M.; Parolin, P.; Schreiner, M.; Baldermann, S. 2016. Metabolite profiling reveals a specific response in tomato to predaceous Chrysoperla carnea larvae and herbivore(s)-predator interactions with the generalist pests Tetranychus urticae and Myzus persicae. Frontiers in Plant Science.