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Diagnostic PCR assays to unravel food web interactions in cereal crops with focus on biological control of aphids

Staudacher, Karin and Jonsson, Mattias and Traugott, Michael (2016). Diagnostic PCR assays to unravel food web interactions in cereal crops with focus on biological control of aphids. Journal of pest science. 89 :1 , 281-293
[Research article]

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10340-015-0685-8


Successful biological control of agricultural pests is dependent on a thorough understanding of the underlying trophic interactions between predators and prey. Studying trophic interactions can be challenging, particularly when generalist predators that frequently use multiple prey and interact with both pest and alternative prey are considered. In this context, diagnostic PCR proved to be a suitable approach, however at present, prey-specific PCR primers necessary for assessing such interactions across trophic levels are missing. Here we present a new set of 45 primers designed to target a wide range of invertebrate taxa common to temperate cereal crops: cereal aphids, their natural enemies such as carabid beetles, ladybeetles, lacewings, and spiders, and potential alternative prey groups (earthworms, springtails, and dipterans). These primers were combined in three 'ready to use' multiplex PCR assays for quick and cost-effective analyses of large numbers of predator samples. The assays were tested on 560 carabids collected in barley fields in Sweden. Results from this screening suggest that aphids constitute a major food source for carabids in cereal crops (overall DNA detection rate: 51 %), whereas alternative extraguild and intraguild prey appear to be less frequently preyed upon when aphids are present (11 % for springtails and 12 % for earthworms; 1 % for spiders and 4 % for carabids). In summary, the newly developed molecular assays proved reliable and effective in assessing previously cryptic predator-prey trophic interactions, specifically with focus on biological control of aphids. The diagnostic PCR assays will be applicable manifold as the targeted invertebrates are common to many agricultural systems of the temperate region.

Authors/Creators:Staudacher, Karin and Jonsson, Mattias and Traugott, Michael
Title:Diagnostic PCR assays to unravel food web interactions in cereal crops with focus on biological control of aphids
Series Name/Journal:Journal of pest science
Year of publishing :2016
Page range:281-293
Number of Pages:13
Publisher:Springer Verlag
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:F Plant production > F40 Plant ecology
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Keywords:Molecular gut content analysis, Group-specific primer, Multiplex PCR, Generalist predators, Carabid beetles
Permanent URL:
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000374192400027
ID Code:14030
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:08 Feb 2017 08:31
Metadata Last Modified:09 Sep 2020 14:17

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