Tomato trichomes are deadly hurdles limiting the establishment of Amblyseius swirskii Athias-Henriot (Acari: Phytoseiidae)
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AuthorPaspati, Angeliki; Rambla, Jose L.; López-Gresa, María P.; Arbona, Vicent; Gómez-Cadenas, Aurelio; Granell, Antonio; González-Cabrera, Joel; Urbaneja, Alberto
Cita bibliográficaPaspati, A., Rambla, J. L., López-Gresa, M. P., Arbona, V., Gómez-Cadenas, A., Granell, A., et al. (2021). Tomato trichomes are deadly hurdles limiting the establishment of Amblyseius swirskii Athias-Henriot (Acari: Phytoseiidae). Biocontrol, 157, 104572.
Amblyseius swirskii is a predatory mite widely used for the control of very important pest species, such as whiteflies and thrips, in organic farming and conventional agriculture. However, this species cannot establish on tomato crops, probably due to the toxic effects of plant trichomes and their exudates. We evaluated tomato plants for effects on: a) A. swirskii preference mediated by plant volatiles, b) A. swirskii development, predation capacity and reproductive performance, c) the dispersal and survival of mites as affected by stem trichomes, and d) mite survival as a function of secondary metabolites secreted by tomato trichomes. The results showed that A. swirskii mites which gained experience foraging on tomato plants, tend to avoid them. The survival of A. swirskii eggs and juveniles on tomato leaves was not different from that on sweet pepper. However, adult survival was significantly lower when tested on whole plants. This was ostensibly due to the impact of trichomes and their secondary metabolites that are abundant on the stems and which negatively impacted mite dispersal on the plant. Among the secondary metabolites detected in tomato trichomes, the strongest negative effects were associated with acyl sugars. Acyl sugars were highly toxic to the mites and also, physically accumulated on their bodies after walking on tomato stems. Altogether, our results reveal why A. swirskii is not an efficient biocontrol agent on tomato crops.