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Beta-ionone is a functional plant volatile that attracts the parasitic wasp, Microplitis pallidipes

Abstract

The effects of plant volatiles on parasitoids are important with regards to the tri-trophic interactions among host plants, insect herbivores, and their natural enemies. However, the effects of plant volatiles on the important parasitoid (Microplitis pallidipes Szépligeti; Hymenoptera: Braconidae) of noctuids have not been determined at the molecular, laboratory, and outdoor scales with complementary approaches. The odorant binding protein 8 of M. pallidipes (MpOBP8) with an open reading frame of 459 bp was cloned and successfully expressed in Escherichia coli (Eubacteriales: Enterobacteriaceae). The purified protein MpOBP8 had a relatively high binding capacity to the plant volatile β-ionone (Ki value was 28.86 μM) in the fluorescence competitive binding assay. Meanwhile, Y-tube olfactometer experiments indicated that β-ionone selectively attracts the parasitic wasp as the ratio of M. pallidipes selecting β-ionone vs. control was 2:1. Likewise, field screenhouse experiments verified the above results as the ratio of M. pallidipes selecting β-ionone vs. control was close to 2:1. This study suggested that β-ionone is a plant volatile that attracts the parasitoid M. pallidipes, and MpOBP8 may play a key role in the discrimination of M. pallidipes in searching for hosts via β-ionone. In general our results suggest that β-ionone has the potential to enhance the biocontrol effect of parasitoids on insect herbivores.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Shanghai Agriculture Applied Technology Development Program (Grant No. T20210204), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31601641, 32001969), Natural Science Foundation of Shanghai (Grant No. 20ZR1449000), Shanghai Agriculture Commission of China (2014-7-3-2) and SAAS Program for Excellent Research Team (2018[B-01]).

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HZ and JYW contributed equally to this work. HZ, JYW, YJC, ES, XYJ, NFW and JXJ carried out data analysis and drafted the manuscript. All authors gave final approval for publication.

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Correspondence to Xiang-Yun Ji, Jie-Xian Jiang or Nian-Feng Wan.

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Zhang, H., Wang, JY., Chen, YJ. et al. Beta-ionone is a functional plant volatile that attracts the parasitic wasp, Microplitis pallidipes. BioControl (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10526-021-10117-3

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Keywords

  • Biological control
  • Field screenhouse experiments
  • Fluorescence competitive binding assay
  • Odorant binding protein
  • Parasitoid
  • Y-tube olfactometer