Twenty years ago in 1986 in the USA, Florida experienced outbreaks of what is now known as whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) biotype “B”, first in greenhouse poinsettia, then in a wide range of vegetable, ornamental and field crops. Soon similar outbreaks were seen in other States within the USA and many other countries around the world.
The outbreaks of the B whitefly have often been followed by pandemics of a group of plant viruses called begomoviruses on crops such as tomato and tobacco. These viruses are transmitted by this whitefly. In many countries and regions, including China, the outbreaks of the B whitefly have also seen the gradual disappearance of some native whitefly biotypes.
Many scientists around the world have been investigating why the B whitefly is so invasive. It is now widely accepted that the B whitefly is most likely to have originated from the Mediterranean/North Africa region, and its recent widespread invasion has been assisted by the worldwide flower trade. The question remains how this pest can increase so rapidly and displace native biotypes of whitefly after it has been transported to new localities.
The research compared development, survival, fecundity and population increase of the invasive B whitefly and an indigenous whitefly (called ZHJ1) on both virus-infected and healthy tobacco plants. Compared to its performance on healthy plants, the invasive B whitefly had higher fecundity and longevity by 12 and 6 fold when feeding on plants infected by one virus, and by 18 and 7 fold when feeding on plants infected by another virus. Population density of the B whitefly on virus-infected plants reached 2-13 times that on healthy plants in 56 days. No doubt increase of infectious whiteflies will in turn speed up virus pandemics. In contrast, the indigenous whitefly performed similarly on healthy and virus-infected plants.
“This is the first study that shows an invasive insect has such a mutualistic relationship with the viruses it transmits, whereas its indigenous counterpart does not,” said Professor Shu-Sheng Liu, corresponding author of the study, from the Institute of Insect Sciences, Zhejiang University. “We believe that the mutualism between the B whitefly and the viruses may contribute to the ability of the B whitefly to both invade and displace indigenous whiteflies, as well as causing disease pandemics of the viruses associated with this vector.”
The study also shows that infection of the whiteflies per se has limited effects on the survival and fecundity of the vectors, and the B whitefly acquires the benefits through feeding on the virus-infected plants. Thus the mutualism is indirect. The researchers believe that this kind of mutualism may exist in many circumstances and should receive more attention in the research and management of biological invasions.
Citation: Jiu M, Zhou XP, Tong L, Xu J, Yang X et al (2007) Vector-virus mutualism accelerates population increase of an invasive whitefly. PLoS ONE 2(1): e182. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000182.
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering