Effects of Water Availability on Emerald Ash Borer Larval Performance and Phloem Phenolics of Manchurian and Black Ash

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The invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) beetle is a significant threat to the survival of North American ash. In previous work, we identified putative biochemical and molecular markers of constitutive EAB resistance in Manchurian ash, an Asian species co-evolved with EAB. Here, we employed high-throughput high-performance liquid chromatography with photodiode array detection and mass spectrometry (HPLC-PDA-MS) to characterize the induced response of soluble phloem phenolics to EAB attack in resistant Manchurian and susceptible black ash under conditions of either normal or low water availability, and the effects of water availability on larval performance. Total larval mass per tree was lower in Manchurian than in black ash. Low water increased larval numbers and mean larval mass overall, but more so in Manchurian ash. Low water did not affect levels of phenolics in either host species, but six phenolics decreased in response to EAB. In both ashes, pinoresinol A was induced by EAB, especially in Manchurian ash. Pinoresinol A and pinoresinol B were negatively correlated with each other in both species. The higher accumulation of pinoresinol A in Manchurian ash after attack may help explain the resistance of this species to EAB, but none of the responses measured here could explain increased larval performance in trees subjected to low water availability.



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