Identification of trophic interactions between Macrolophus caliginosus (Heteroptera: Miridae) and Myzus persicae (Homoptera: Aphididae) using real time PCR

Jörg E. U. Schmidt, João R. M. Almeida, Carlo Rosati, Salvatore Arpaia

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding food web interactions in native or agricultural ecosystems is an important step towards establishing sustainable pest management strategies. While the role of generalist predators as biological control agents is increasingly appreciated, the study of trophic interactions between individual predator species and their prey provides practical difficulties. Recently, different approaches have been suggested to determine prey items from predator guts using molecular methods. Macrolophus caliginosus is a generalist predator active in herbaceous agro-ecosystems. We developed a system to identify the DNA of its prey after ingestion, using Myzus persicae as a model. Esterase (MpEST) and cytochrome oxidase I (MpCOI) genes were targeted in the aphid, while M. caliginosus COI gene was used as control for predator DNA. Real time PCR proved to be specific and sensitive enough to detect prey DNA upon ingestion after feeding experiments. The system provided a linear amplification response with only 10 fg of prey genomic DNA as template. The detection system of MpCOI gene was more sensitive than MpEST, while the detection period was similar for both genes. Possibilities for using the system in ecological and biosafety studies with regard to sustainable pest management are discussed. © 2008 International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383 - 391
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science

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