Leaf surface compounds of the potato (Solanum tuberosum) and their influence on Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) feeding
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- Szafranek, B., Synak, E., Waligóra, D. et al. Chemoecology (2008) 18: 205. doi:10.1007/s00049-008-0407-2
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The sampling behavior of the Colorado potato beetle Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say (CPB) involves examination of the surface of potato leaves. It has been suggested that leaf surface compounds (volatiles and cuticular waxes) may be involved in host-plant recognition, acceptance or discrimination. Here we report on the effect of leaf surface extracts of six Polish commercial potato varieties on CPB feeding. We tested the influence of potato leaf surface extracts on CPB adult and larval feeding, then separated the extracts with HPLC, and finally tested the effect of the HPLC-separated fractions on CPB feeding. The bioassays were performed using potato leaf discs deprived of their original surface compounds. Applied to test discs at concentrations ten times higher than natural (10 leaf area equivalent), the extracts deterred CPB adults and larvae from feeding. HPLC-separated fractions composed of alkanes, sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, wax esters, benzoic acid esters, fatty acid methyl, ethyl, isopropyl and phenylethyl esters, aldehydes, ketones, methyl ketones, fatty acids, primary alcohols, β-amyrin and sterols did not affect adult CPB feeding. Similarly, alkanes, sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, wax esters, methyl ketones, sesquiterpene alcohols and secondary alcohols had no effect on larval CPB feeding. The sterol fraction (cholesterol, β-sitosterol and stigmasterol) acted as a phagostimulant to CPB larvae. We isolated a fraction demonstrating a phagodeterrent effect on CPB adults and larvae. The qualitative composition of the deterrent fraction was quite similar in all potato extracts, but there were quantitative differences between the varieties. Much further work is needed to identify the compounds that can produce the deterrent effect.