Pathogens, including tospoviruses, are known to manipulate the behaviour of vectors after virus acquisition by plants to enhance virus transmission. Furthermore, as recently proven in the maize chlorotic mottle virus pathosystem, the vector's choice for virus-infected plants can change to a preference for noninfected plants after virus uptake by the vector. A similar trend was observed in the cowpea - Watermelon Bud Necrosis Virus (WBNV) - Thrips palmi (Karny) pathosystem. Similarly, in the no-choice bioassay, viruliferous T.palmi (carrying WBNV) settled preferentially more on healthy cowpea plants (56%) compared to virus-infected plants (47.3%), whereas non-viruliferous T.palmi settled preferentially more on WBNV infected (58.67%) cowpea plants compared to healthy plants (44%). The changes in preference of thrips towards host plants before and after virus acquisition may be due to the change of volatile cues. This study looked at the headspace volatile composition of healthy and WBNV-infected cowpea plants that attract thrips. Furthermore, the volatile analysis revealed that 1, 2-Propanediamine (0.62%) and Tuaminoheptane (0.55%) from healthy cowpea plants, as well as Tetradecane (0.35%) from WBNV-infected cowpea plants, both have a higher area percent than other volatiles. The amine (53%) and hydrocarbon (69%) groups of volatile organic compounds make up the majority of host volatiles found in healthy and virus-infected plants. The increased contact rates of viruliferous and non-viruliferous T.palmi towards healthy and WBNV-infected host plants could enhance virus transmission if thrips feed on them and acquire the pathogen prior to dispersal and the recorded host volatiles might be useful in vector management in future.
Thrips, Tritrophic interactions, WBNV, VOCs, Virus, Vector and Volatiles
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