Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 499–511 | Cite as

Interspecific Comparison of Constitutive Ash Phloem Phenolic Chemistry Reveals Compounds Unique to Manchurian Ash, a Species Resistant to Emerald Ash Borer

  • Justin G. A. WhitehillEmail author
  • Stephen O. Opiyo
  • Jennifer L. Koch
  • Daniel A. Herms
  • Donald F. Cipollini
  • Pierluigi Bonello


The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis, EAB) is an invasive wood-borer indigenous to Asia and is responsible for widespread ash (Fraxinus spp.) mortality in the U.S. and Canada. Resistance and susceptibility to EAB varies among Fraxinus spp., which is a result of their co-evolutionary history with the pest. We characterized constitutive phenolic profiles and lignin levels in the phloem of green, white, black, blue, European, and Manchurian ash. Phloem was sampled twice during the growing season, coinciding with phenology of early and late instar EAB. We identified 66 metabolites that displayed a pattern of variation, which corresponded strongly with phylogeny. Previously identified lignans and lignan derivatives were confirmed to be unique to Manchurian ash, and may contribute to its high level of resistance to EAB. Other compounds that had been considered unique to Manchurian ash, including hydroxycoumarins and the phenylethanoids calceolarioside A and B, were detected in closely related, but susceptible species, and thus are unlikely to contribute to EAB resistance of Manchurian ash. The distinct phenolic profile of blue ash may contribute to its relatively high resistance to EAB.


Agrilus planipennis Fraxinus Wood-borer HPLC Host plant resistance Plant–insect interactions Invasive species Emerald ash borer Coleoptera Buprestidae 



Bailey Nursery, Inc. (St. Paul MN, USA), Moon Dancer Farm (Lexington KY, USA), and the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station (Delaware OH, USA) provided trees used in this study. We thank David S. Bienemann, Municipal Arborist, City of Bowling Green, Ohio, for providing the site for the ash plantation, and for his assistance with establishing and maintaining the trees. We thank Bryant Chambers, Diane Hartzler, and Ohio State University Extension Master Gardeners for their help planting the trees, and Karla Medina-Ortega and Gerardo Suazo for technical assistance. This project was funded by the Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund, the Horticultural Research Institute, Ohio Plant Biotechnology Consortium, USDA APHIS Accelerated Emerald Ash Borer Research Program, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, and by state and federal funds appropriated to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University, and Wright State University.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin G. A. Whitehill
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Stephen O. Opiyo
    • 3
  • Jennifer L. Koch
    • 4
  • Daniel A. Herms
    • 5
  • Donald F. Cipollini
    • 6
  • Pierluigi Bonello
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant PathologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Michael Smith LaboratoriesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Molecular and Cellular Imaging Center-ColumbusOhio Agricultural Research and Development CenterColumbusUSA
  4. 4.Northern Research StationUSDA Forest ServiceDelawareUSA
  5. 5.Department of EntomologyThe Ohio State University, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development CenterWoosterUSA
  6. 6.Department of Biological SciencesWright State UniversityDaytonUSA

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