Chemical signals in interactions between Hylobius abietis and associated bacteria

Sammanfattning: The pine weevil (Hylobius abietis L.) is one of the two topmost economically important insect pests in Swedish conifer forests. The damage increase in areas were the silvicultural practice is to use clear cuttings were the insects gather and breed. During egglaying the female protects her offspring by creating a cave in roots and stumps were she puts her egg and covers it with frass, a mixture of weevil feces and chewed bark. Adult pine weevils have been observed to feed on the other side of the egg laying site and antifeedant substance has been discovered in the feces of the pine weevil. We think it is possible that microorganisms present in the frass contribute with antifeedant/repellent substances. Little is known about the pine weevils associated bacteria community and their symbiotic functions. In this thesis the bacterial community is characterized in gut and frass both from pine weevils in different populations across Europe as well as after a 28 day long diet regime on Scots pine, silver birch or bilberry. Volatile substances produced by isolated bacteria as well as from a consortium of microorganisms were collected with solid phase micro extraction (SPME) and analyzed with GC-MS. The main volatiles were tested against pine weevils using a two-choice test. Wolbachia, Rahnella aquatilis, Serratia and Pseudomonas syringae was commonly associated with the pine weevil. 2-Methoxyphenol, 2-phenylethanol, 3-methyl-1-butanol were found in the headspace from Rahnella aquatilis when grown in substrate containing pine bark. 2-Methoxyphenol and 3-methyl-1-butanol, phenol and methyl salicylate were found in pine feces. Birch and bilberry feces emitted mainly linalool oxides and bilberry emitted also small amounts of 2-phenylethanol.A second part of the thesis discusses the role of fungi in forest insect interactions and the production of oxygenated monoterpenes as possible antifeedants. Spruce bark beetles (Ips typhographus L.) aggregate with the help of pheromones and with collected forces they kill weakened adult trees as a result of associated fungi growth and larval development. A fungi associated with the bark beetle, Grosmannia europhoides, was shown to produce de novo 2-methyl-3-buten-2-ol, the major component of the spruce bark beetle aggregation pheromone. Chemical defense responses against Endoconidiophora polonica and Heterobasidion parviporum were investigated using four clones of Norway spruce with different susceptibility to Heterobasidion sp. Clone specific differences were found in induced mono-, sesqui and diterpenes. A number of oxygenated monoterpenes which are known antifeedants for the pine weevil were produced in the infested areas.

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