An Innate Preference of Bumblebees for Volatile Organic

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Mhlanga, N. M., Murphy, A. M., Wamonje, F. O., Cunniffe, N. J., Caulfield, J. C., Glover, B. J. and Carr, J. P. 2021. An Innate Preference of Bumblebees for Volatile Organic. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 9, p. 626851.

AuthorsMhlanga, N. M., Murphy, A. M., Wamonje, F. O., Cunniffe, N. J., Caulfield, J. C., Glover, B. J. and Carr, J. P.

Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV)-infected tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) plants emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) attractive to bumblebees (Bombus terrestris
L.), which are important tomato pollinators, but which do not transmit CMV. We investigated if this effect was unique to the tomato-CMV pathosystem. In two bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) cultivars, infection with the potyviruses bean common mosaic virus (BCMV) or bean common mosaic necrosis virus (BCMNV), or with the cucumovirus CMV induced quantitative changes in VOC emission detectable by coupled gas
chromatography–mass spectrometry. In free-choice olfactometry assays bumblebees showed an innate preference for VOC blends emitted by virus-infected non-flowering bean plants and flowering CMV-infected bean plants, over VOCs emitted by noninfected plants. Bumblebees also preferred VOCs of flowering BCMV-infected plants of the Wairimu cultivar over non-infected plants, but the preference was not significant
for BCMV-infected plants of the Dubbele witte cultivar. Bumblebees did not show a significant preference for VOCs from BCMNV-infected flowering bean plants but
differential conditioning olfactometric assays showed that bumblebees do perceive differences between VOC blends emitted by flowering BCMNV-infected plants over noninfected plants. These results are consistent with the concept that increased pollinator attraction may be a virus-to-host payback, and show that virus-induced changes in bee-attracting VOC emission is not unique to one virus-host combination

KeywordsBumblebee; Cucumovirus; Innate preference; Pollination; Potyvirus; Semiochemical; Trade-off
Year of Publication2021
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Journal citation9, p. 626851
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeBB/J011762/1
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online20 Sep 2021
PublisherFrontiers Media SA

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