"The fragrances given off by flowers are actually complex compounds known as plant volatiles, some of which cannot be detected by humans," Yu said. "Volatile compounds act as a language that they use to communicate and interact with the surrounding environment. It's a defense mechanism against herbivores and it's a means to attract pollinators. As of today, there have been over 1,000 plant volatiles reported. But, none have yet to be reported in impatiens."
Impatiens, one of the top-selling bedding plants in America, is very durable, relatively easy to grow and has wholesale sales exceeding over $170 million per year. Yu chose two the popular varieties Dazzler White and Cajun Carmine to study their resistance to the Western flower thrips.
Yu's initial research in greenhouses showed that Cajun Carmine had significantly less damage from thrips than Dazzler White. So she set out to prove the reason why, suspecting that impatiens may emit volatiles that attract the thrips.
Thrips are very tiny, sliver-like insects that are native to northwestern North America. They are a worldwide pest, causing problems in field crops and greenhouses. They are attracted to a wide range of host plants including impatiens, fuscia, hibiscus, chrysanthemum, begonias, ivy, petunias, and major food crops. They feed on the plants' leaves and petals and transmit devastating plant viruses.
For her research, Yu used a tiny glass apparatus shaped like the letter "Y." The thrips are inserted one at a time into the base of the Y. When the thrip reaches the junction in the Y, it has the opportunity to choose to continue one way or the other. In this experiment, one of the choices was toward purified air, while the other was toward volatiles from an impatiens plant.
"Because we want to know if the thrips are choosing based on a non-visual cue, the apparatus is contained in a black box so the thrips cannot see if they're going toward the plant or not," Yu said.
In the experiment, thrips chose Dazzler White over the purified air 64 percent of the time. The thrips chose Cajun Carmine only 53 percent of the time. "Because the thrips are blinded to the plants, it's easy to infer that they are responding to the volatile compounds," Yu said. "Thrips did not choose the Cajun Carmine preferentially over the purified air. What this implies is that Cajun Carmine does not produce a volatile attractive to thrips."
Although the percentages don't appear significantly different, Yu said that it is conclusive. "As a control, we also did the Y test with purified air only, and the thrips were choosing one side over the other 50-50. Because the thrips were choosing Cajun Carmine basically 50-50, choosing Dazzler White 64 percent of the time shows they were definitely choosing the plant [Dazzler White] over the purified air."
While preliminary, these findings are exciting to researchers seeking to minimize damage to impatiens in commercial greenhouses.
When specific plant volatiles are identified as attractant or repellents to specific insect pests, these volatiles can then be used as selection factors in plant breeding programs or by producers seeking to limit insect damage," said Yu's U of I advisor Daniel Warnock. "The development of commercially acceptable cultivars of impatiens that are not attractive to or recognized as a food source by western flower thrips will reduce insecticide usage in greenhouses as the thrips will choose to feed elsewhere. Attractant volatiles may also be used as lures to trap insects as a control method. Repellents may be used as a deterrent to feeding if formulated for application on other crops."
Future research to be conducted at the University of Illinois will focus on identifying the presence of volatile compounds in impatiens germplasm lines which show higher levels of resistance to western flower thrips feeding than Cajun Carmine. Once the presence or absence of volatiles are confirmed, researchers plan to begin fractioning the mass volatiles into specific compounds that are candidates for use in reducing insect attractiveness to greenhouse crops.
Funding for the study was provided by the University of Illinois Research Board.
Debra Levey Larson | EurekAlert!
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
Pan-European study on “Smart Engineering”
30.03.2017 | IPH - Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover gGmbH
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering