J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2016, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (4): 388-396.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12430

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Rhynchophorus ferrugineus attack affects a group of compounds rather than rearranging Phoenix canariensis metabolic pathways

Antonio Giovino1, Federico Martinelli2,3 and Sergio Saia1*   

  1. 1Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l'analisi dell'economia agraria (CREA), Unità di ricerca per il recupero e la valorizzazione delle Specie Floricole Mediterranee (CREA-SFM), Bagheria (PA), Italy
    2Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Forestali (SAF), University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
    3Istituto Euromediterraneo di Scienza e Tecnologia (IEMEST), Palermo, Italy
  • Received:2015-04-22 Accepted:2015-09-21 Published:2016-04-11
  • About author:*Correspondence: E-mail: sergio.saia@entecra.it


The red palm weevil (RPW; Rhynchophorus ferrugineus) is spreading worldwide and severely harming many palm species. However, most studies on RPW focused on insect biology, and little information is available about the plant response to the attack. In the present experiment, we used metabolomics to study the alteration of the leaf metabolome of Phoenix canariensis at initial (1st stage) or advanced (2nd stage) attack by RPW compared with healthy (unattacked) plants. The leaf metabolome significantly varied among treatments. At the 1st stage of attack, plants showed a reprogramming of carbohydrate and organic acid metabolism; in contrast, peptides and lipid metabolic pathways underwent more changes during the 2nd than 1st stage of attack. Enrichment metabolomics analysis indicated that RPW attack mostly affected a particular group of compounds rather than rearranging plant metabolic pathways. Some compounds selectively affected during the 1st rather than 2nd stage (e.g. phenylalanine; tryptophan; cellobiose; xylose; quinate; xylonite; idonate; and iso-threonate; cellobiotol and arbutine) are upstream events in the phenylpropanoid, terpenoid and alkaloid biosynthesis. These compounds could be designated as potential markers of initial RPW attack. However, further investigation is needed to determine efficient early screening methods of RPW attack based on the concentrations of these molecules.

Key words: Early detection, Mediterranean environment, metabolomics, palms, plant borer

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