Maize lethal necrosis is one of the most devastating diseases of maize causing yield losses reaching up to 90% in sub-Saharan Africa. The disease is caused by a combination of maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMV) and any one of cereal viruses in the Potyviridae group such as sugarcane mosaic virus. MCMV has been reported to be transmitted mainly by maize thrips (Frankliniella williamsi) and onion thrips (Thrips tabaci). To better understand the role of thrips vectors in the epidemiology of the disease, we investigated behavioral responses of F. williamsi and T. tabaci, to volatiles collected from maize seedlings infected with MCMV in a four-arm olfactometer bioassay. Volatile profiles from MCMV-infected and healthy maize plants were compared by gas chromatography (GC) and GC coupled mass spectrometry analyses. In the bioassays, both sexes of F. williamsi and male T. tabaci were significantly attracted to volatiles from maize plants infected with MCMV compared to healthy plants and solvent controls. Moreover, volatile analysis revealed strong induction of (E)-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene, methyl salicylate and (E,E)-4,8,12-trimethyltrideca-1,3,7,11-tetraene in MCMV-infected maize seedlings. Our findings demonstrate MCMV induces changes in volatile profiles of host plants to elicit attraction of thrips vectors. The increased vector contact rates with MCMV-infected host plants could enhance virus transmission if thrips feed on the infected plants and acquire the pathogen prior to dispersal. Uncovering the mechanisms mediating interactions between vectors, host plants and pathogens provides useful insights for understanding the vector ecology and disease epidemiology, which in turn may contribute in designing integrated vector management strategies.
Journal of Chemical Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 2, 2018
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