Journal of Chemical Ecology (2018) 44, 209-214

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Marla Roth, Altaf Hussain, Jonathan A. Cale and Nadir Erbilgin (2018)
Successful colonization of lodgepole pine trees by mountain pine beetle increased monoterpene production and exhausted carbohydrate reserves
Journal of Chemical Ecology 44 (2), 209-214
Abstract: Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) forests have experienced severe mortality from mountain pine beetle (MPB) (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) in western North America for the last several years. Although the mechanisms by which beetles kill host trees are unclear, they are likely linked to pine defense monoterpenes that are synthesized from carbohydrate reserves. However, how carbohydrates and monoterpenes interact in response to MPB colonization is unknown. Understanding this relationship could help to elucidate how pines succumb to bark beetle attack. We compared concentrations of individual and total monoterpenes and carbohydrates in the phloem of healthy pine trees with those naturally colonized by MPB. Trees attacked by MPB had nearly 300% more monoterpenes and 40% less carbohydrates. Total monoterpene concentrations were most strongly associated with the concentration of sugars in the phloem. These results suggest that bark beetle colonization likely depletes carbohydrate reserves by increasing the production of carbon-rich monoterpenes, and other carbon-based secondary compounds. Bark beetle attacks also reduce water transport causing the disruption of carbon transport between tree foliage and roots, which restricts carbon assimilation. Reduction in carbohydrate reserves likely contributes to tree mortality.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website


Database assignments for author(s): Nadir Erbilgin

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
resistance/tolerance/defence of host


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.
Dendroctonus ponderosae