2022 journal article

Sesquiterpene Induction by the Balsam Woolly Adelgid (Adelges piceae) in Putatively Resistant Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri)

FORESTS, 13(5).

By: A. Thomas n, D. Tilotta n‚ÄČ, J. Frampton n & R. Jetton n

author keywords: Fraser fir; Abies fraseri; balsam woolly adelgid; Adelges piceae; terpenoids; resistance
Source: Web Of Science
Added: June 13, 2022

Fraser fir, Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir., is a tree endemic to the Southern Appalachians and is found only in a few isolated populations at high elevations. Fraser firs are also cultivated on a commercial scale as Christmas trees. The species is imperiled by an introduced insect, the balsam woolly adelgid, Adelges piceae Ratzeburg (BWA). The insect severely damages Christmas tree crops and has caused substantial Fraser fir mortality in natural stands. Foliar terpenoids are one mechanism of host plant defense against invading insects and may be one focus of future Christmas tree breeding efforts. This study examines the correlation of foliar terpenoids with Fraser fir performance when infested with BWA. GC-MS and GC-FID analysis of artificially infested Fraser fir foliage reveals that increased concentrations of four terpenoid compounds are associated with BWA infestations. Foliar concentrations of two sesquiterpenes, camphene and humulene, are significantly higher in putatively resistant Fraser fir clones than in more susceptible clones after sustained adelgid feeding for a period of 20 weeks. Although it is unclear if the induction of these sesquiterpenes in the host fir is directly contributing to adelgid resistance, these compounds could serve as effective indicators while screening for BWA resistance in future Christmas tree breeding programs.