Middleton, E.G. and I. V. MacRae. 2021. Biological Control 152: 104463, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2020.104463

Wildflower plantings in agroecosystems can support arthropod predators, and may have the potential to increase conservation biological control of pest species in nearby crops. Colorado potato beetle (CPB) is a significant defoliator of potato that is resistant to many forms of management. Promoting natural enemies of CPB by establishing perennial wildflower plantings in field margins may provide a measure of control for this pest. We examined the impacts of floral plantings on the abundance of known CPB predators, predation of CPB egg masses, and CPB populations in a commercial agroecosystem. Floral plantings increased the abundance of CPB predators, but did not significantly increase the rate of predation of sentinel CPB egg masses within field margins. Within nearby potato fields, predator abundance and predation rates on CPB eggs were unaffected by the presence of flowers. Colorado potato beetle abundance in potato fields was also not impacted by floral plantings. However, floral margins may provide improved overwintering opportunities for CPB, and further investigation is needed. Perennial wildflower plantings show potential for attracting predators that prey on CPB, but these benefits do not extend into nearby potato crops.

Rainio MJ, Margus A, Virtanen V, Lindström L, Salminen JP, Saikkonen K, Helander M. 2020. Chemosphere. 258:127254.

Glyphosate is the most used herbicide worldwide, targeting physiological pathways in plants. Recent studies have shown that glyphosate can also cause toxic effects in animals. We investigated the glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH)-induced changes in potato (Solanum tuberosum) plant chemistry and the effects of a GBH on the survival rate and oxidative status of the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata). The beetles were reared on potato plants grown in pots containing soil treated with a GBH (Roundup Gold, 450 g/l) or untreated soil (water control). The 2nd instar larvae were introduced to the potato plants and then collected in 2 phases: as 4th instar larvae and as adults. The main glycoalkaloids of the potato plants, α-solanine and α-chaconine, were measured twice during the experiment. The α-solanine was reduced in potato plants grown in GBH-treated soil, which can be detrimental to plant defenses against herbivores. GBH treatment had no effect on the survival rate or body mass of the larvae or the adult beetles. In the larvae, total glutathione (tGSH) concentration and the enzyme activity of catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase, and glutathione-S-transferase were increased in the GBH treatment group. In the adult beetles, CAT activity and tGSH levels were affected by the interactive effect of GBH treatment and the body mass. To conclude, environmentally relevant concentrations of a GBH can affect the potato plant's glycoalkaloid concentrations, but are not likely to directly affect the survival rate of the Colorado potato beetle, but instead, modify the antioxidant defense of the beetles via diet.

Lazarević J, Kostić I, Milanović S, Šešlija Jovanović D, Krnjajić S, Ćalić D, Stanković S, Kostić M. 2020.  Bulletin of Entomological Research. First View.

The Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), is one of the most destructive pest species to have developed resistance to most chemical insecticides. We determined the composition and evaluated the potential of Tanacetum parthenium L. and Tanacetum vulgare L. (Asteraceae family) essential oil (EO) application as an alternative eco-friendly control strategy against L. decemlineata. We assessed the antifeedant activity for L. decemlineata larvae and adults by estimating the damage to potato leaves treated with three concentrations of EOs dissolved in ethanol (0.125, 0.25 and 0.5%). Results showed that T. parthenium EO was more effective against larvae, and T. vulgare was more effective against adults. In an olfactometer assay, the time required to choose an untreated leaf disc did not depend on the Tanacetum species, or life stage examined. However, the concentration of EO exhibited a significant effect on the behaviour of both developmental stages. At higher EO concentrations, both third instar larvae and adults require less time to choose an untreated leaf disc. Additionally, T. parthenium EO provoked more rapid movement away from the treated leaf disc than T. vulgare, especially at the highest concentration. Successful modification of L. decemlineata behaviour by the two Tanacetum oils suggests that they possess the potential for use in potato protection.

Kaiser N, Manrique-Carpintero NC, DiFonzo C, Coombs J, Douches D. 2020. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. 133(9):2583–2603.

Key message: A major QTL on chromosome 2 associated with leptine biosynthesis and Colorado potato beetle resistance was identified in a diploid S. chacoense F2 population using linkage mapping and bulk-segregant analysis. Abstract: We examined the genetic features underlying leptine glycoalkaloid mediated Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) host plant resistance in a diploid F2 mapping population of 233 individuals derived from Solanum chacoense lines USDA8380-1 and M6. The presence of foliar leptine glycoalkaloids in this population segregated as a single dominant gene and displayed continuous distribution of accumulated quantity in those individuals producing the compound. Using biparental linkage mapping, a major overlapping QTL region with partial dominance effects was identified on chromosome 2 explaining 49.3% and 34.1% of the variance in Colorado potato beetle field resistance and leptine accumulation, respectively. Association of this putative resistance region on chromosome 2 was further studied in an expanded F2 population in a subsequent field season. Loci significantly associated with leptine synthesis colocalized to chromosome 2. Significant correlation between increased leptine content and decreased Colorado potato beetle defoliation suggests a single QTL on chromosome 2. Additionally, a minor QTL with overdominance effects explaining 6.2% associated with Colorado potato beetle resistance donated by susceptible parent M6 was identified on chromosome 7. Bulk segregant whole genome sequencing of the same F2 population detected QTL associated with Colorado potato beetle resistance on chromosomes 2, 4, 6, 7, and 12. Weighted gene co-expression network analysis of parental lines and resistant and susceptible F2 individuals identified a tetratricopeptide repeat containing protein with a putative regulatory function and a previously uncharacterized acetyltransferase within the QTL region on chromosome 2, possibly under the control of a regulatory Tap46 subunit within the minor QTL on chromosome 12.

Ashouri S, Farshbaf Pourabad R. 2021. Gene. 766:145159.

Considering the relevance of insect α-amylases and natural α-amylase inhibitors present in plants to protect against insect damage, we investigated the effect of white bean and rapeseed protein extracts on digestive α-amylase gene expression of the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say). For this purpose, in vitro and in vivo trials were performed to determine the inhibitory activity of seed proteins on the third and fourth instar larvae. In both trials, the significant inhibitory effect of each extracts on the third and fourth instar larval α-amylase activity and considerable mortality in treatments were observed compared to control trials. In the RT-qPCR, expression ratio demonstrated that the α-amylase gene of two different larval stages grown on both proteins treated leaves had significantly differentiated expression and was up-regulated in third instar larvae and down-regulated in fourth instar larvae compared to control. Results suggest that the hyper-production of α-amylase in third instar larvae is elicited to compensate for the enzyme activity inhibition at an earlier stage and also down-regulation suggests the existence of a negative feedback of plant proteins on the last instar larvae via impaired food intake and digestive α-amylase activity in Colorado potato beetle. Therefore, disruption of the insect's digestive physiology by plant defensive proteins can be considered in the development of innovative controlling methods of this crucial potato pest.

Gómez-Gallego, C., M. J. Rainio, M. C. Collado, A. Mantziari, S. Salminen, K. Saikkonen, M. Helander, FEMS Microbiology Letters, Volume 367, Issue 6, March 2020, fnaa050, https://doi.org/10.1093/femsle/fnaa050

Here, we examined whether glyphosate affects the microbiota of herbivores feeding on non-target plants. Colorado potato beetles (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) were reared on potato plants grown in pots containing untreated soil or soil treated with glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH). As per the manufacturer's safety recommendations, the GBH soil treatments were done 2 weeks prior to planting the potatoes. Later, 2-day-old larvae were introduced to the potato plants and then collected in two phases: fourth instar larvae and adults. The larvae's internal microbiota and the adults’ intestinal microbiota were examined by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The beetles’ microbial composition was affected by the GBH treatment and the differences in microbial composition between the control and insects exposed to GBH were more pronounced in the adults. The GBH treatment increased the relative abundance of Agrobacterium in the larvae and the adults. This effect may be related to the tolerance of some Agrobacterium species to glyphosate or to glyphosate-mediated changes in potato plants. On the other hand, the relative abundances of Enterobacteriaceae, Rhodobacter, Rhizobium and Acidovorax in the adult beetles and Ochrobactrum in the larvae were reduced in GBH treatment. These results demonstrate that glyphosate can impact microbial communities associated with herbivores feeding on non-target crop plants.

Wang, J., Z. Gao, M. Yang, R. Xue, H. Yan, K. Fu, Z. Zhang, W. Guo, G. W. Felton, and R. Zeng. Journal of Pest Science, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10340-019-01173-x

Colorado potato beetle (CPB; Leptinotarsa decemlineata) has been detected in Xinjiang, China, since 1993 and has caused serious damage to potato production during its eastward expansion to new geographic ranges. Symbiotic bacteria often play an essential role for insects to exploit novel food sources and expand into otherwise inaccessible ecological niches. An important yet unresolved question is whether herbivore populations from different geographic ranges have distinct or equal abilities to adapt to plant-induced defenses. We examined whether two geographic CPB populations collected from Urumqi and Ili varied in triggering induced defenses in potato plants, and the results demonstrated that plants damaged by Ili CPB larvae showed higher levels/activities of the defensive protein polyphenol oxidase (PPO) than those damaged by Urumqi CPB larvae. Intriguingly, application of oral secretions (OS) from Ili CPB larvae triggered higher PPO activity in potato compared with the treatments by OS collected from Urumqi larvae. Moreover, higher counts of bacterial colonies were observed in Urumqi CPB larvae by traditional culturing and quantitative PCR. Comparing the gut bacterial composition of CPB individuals by 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing also revealed higher abundance and diversity of gut-associated bacteria in the Urumqi population than that in the Ili population. These results indicate that the gut bacteria of CPB larvae were geographically shaped during the process of invasion, which played an important role in mediating plant–insect interactions and possesses a great potential to drive further invasion.

Skuhrovec, J., O. Douda, M. Zouhar, M. Maňasová, M. Božik, and P. Klouček. Journal of Economic Entomology, toz279, https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/toz279

The Colorado potato beetle ranks as one of the most important potato pests, mainly due to its high feeding rate during all developmental stages, particularly third and fourth larval instar, and high fecundity. The effect of essential oil (EO) from anise (Pimpinella anisum L. [Apiales: Apiaceae]) prepared as conventional and encapsulated (EN) formulations on the mortality and antifeedant responses of young larvae of Colorado potato beetles was studied to evaluate the insecticidal and antifeedant effects of five concentrations of this EO and to assess the persistence of both formulations on potato plants. The EN formulation had a significantly higher residual amount compared with that of the conventionally formulated EO. Significantly different values of LC50 and LC90 (ppm) were established for the EO (LC50 = 1,700 and LC90 = 9500) and EN (LC50 = 3,100 and LC90 = 14,300) formulations. The effects of both P. anisum formulations (EO and EN) applied topically to Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) larvae were distinctly different from those observed with the contact treatment. At the highest concentration of 20,000 ppm, the mortality of the second instars of the L. decemlineata larvae did not exceed 25%. On the other hand, both tested formulations of P. anisum were highly effective when administered orally. The encapsulated EO formulation achieved a distinctly higher biological activity. Our results confirm that the EO from P. anisum, especially the encapsulated formulation, has high insecticidal properties that may lead to the development of new organic products for the control of Colorado potato beetles.

Kryukov, V. Y., M. R. Kabilov, N. Smirnova, O. G. Tomilova, M. V. Tyurin, Y. B. Akhanaev, O. V. Polenogova, V. P. Danilov, S. K. Zhangissina, T. Alikina, O. N. Yaroslavtseva, V. V. Glupov, Fungal Biology https://doi.org/10.1016/j.funbio.2019.09.012

Strains of entomopathogenic fungi may have substantial differences in their final stages of mycosis. Insect cadavers are usually overgrown with mycelium after colonization of the insect body, but in many cases, bacterial decomposition of the colonized hosts occurs. We used two Metarhizium robertsii strains in the work: Mak-1 (cadavers become overgrown with mycelium and conidia) and P-72 (cadavers decay after fungal colonization). We conducted a comparative analysis of gut and cadaver microbiota in Colorado potato beetle larvae using 16S rRNA gene sequencing after infection with these strains. In addition, we estimated the content of different forms of nitrogen in cadavers and the influence of cadavers on the growth of Solanum lycopersicum on sand substrates under laboratory conditions. It was shown that infections did not lead to a significant shift in the midgut bacterial communities of infected insects compared to those of untreated insects. Importantly, bacterial communities were similar in both types of cadaver, with predominantly enterobacteria. Decomposing cadavers (P-72) were characterized by increased nitrate and ammonium, and they had a stronger growth-promoting effect on plants compared to cadavers overgrown with mycelium and conidia (Mak-1). We also estimated the colonization and growth of plants after treatment with conidia of both strains cultivated on artificial medium. Both cultures successfully colonized plants, but strain P-72 showed stronger growth promotion than Mak-1. We propose that the use of deviant strains that are unable to sporulate on cadavers leads to a faster (though only passive) flow of nitrogen from killed insects to plants.

Nguyen D, Poeschl Y, Lortzing T, et al. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2018;19(12):3845.

In nature, plants are frequently subjected to multiple biotic and abiotic stresses, resulting in a convergence of adaptive responses. We hypothesised that hormonal signalling regulating defences to different herbivores may interact with drought responses, causing distinct resistance phenotypes. To test this, we studied the hormonal and transcriptomic responses of Solanum dulcamara subjected to drought and herbivory by the generalist Spodoptera exigua (beet armyworm; BAW) or the specialist Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Colorado potato beetle; CPB). Bioassays showed that the performance of BAW, but not CPB, decreased on plants under drought compared to controls. While drought did not alter BAW-induced hormonal responses, it enhanced the CPB-induced accumulation of jasmonic acid and salicylic acid (SA), and suppressed ethylene (ET) emission. Microarray analyses showed that under drought, BAW herbivory enhanced several herbivore-induced responses, including cell-wall remodelling and the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and secondary metabolites. In contrast, CPB herbivory enhanced several photosynthesis-related and pathogen responses in drought-stressed plants. This may divert resources away from defence production and increase leaf nutritive value. In conclusion, while BAW suffers from the drought-enhanced defences, CPB may benefit from the effects of enhanced SA and reduced ET signalling. This suggests that the fine-tuned interaction between the plant and its specialist herbivore is sustained under drought.