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Effects of the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium flavoviride on the fat body lipid composition of Zophobas morio larvae (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)

  • Gołębiowski, Marek1
  • Urbanek, Aleksandra2
  • Pietrzak, Anna2
  • Naczk, Aleksandra M.2
  • Bojke, Aleksandra1
  • Tkaczuk, Cezary3
  • Stepnowski, Piotr1
  • 1 University of Gdańsk, Wita Stwosza 63, Gdańsk, 80-308, Poland , Gdańsk (Poland)
  • 2 University of Gdańsk, Wita Stwosza 59, Gdańsk, 80-308, Poland , Gdańsk (Poland)
  • 3 Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities, B. Prusa 14, Siedlce, 08-110, Poland , Siedlce (Poland)
Published Article
The Science of Nature
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Publication Date
Jan 03, 2020
DOI: 10.1007/s00114-019-1662-5
Springer Nature


Insects employ different defense strategies against fungal infections and chemicals. We aimed to identify the lipid compositions of the fat body of Zophobas morio larvae before and after fungal infection with the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium flavoviride. We used gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to analyze lipid extracts of the fat body isolated of Z. morio 2, 5, and 7 days after fungal infection (treatment group) and compared it with the lipid extracts in a control group injected with physiological isotonic saline. In all the samples, fatty acids were the most abundant compound found in the fat body extracts, with hexadecanoic acid/C16:0 being the most abundant lipid. However, the types and concentrations of lipids changed after fungal infection, likely as an immune response. The most considerable changes occurred in the concentrations of long-chain fatty acids, i.e., hexadecanoic acid/C16:0, octadecenoic acid/C18:1, and octadecanoic acid/C18:0. Contents of methyl ester increased significantly after infection, but that of other esters, especially octanoic acid decyl ester/OADE, decreased on the 5th day after infection. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first detailed analysis of the changes in the lipid composition of the fat body of Z. morio larvae as a result of fungal infection. Our results suggest that entomopathogenic fungal infection affects the internal lipid composition of insects, potentially as a way of adjusting to such infection. These results can help understand infection processes and defense strategies of insects against fungal infection. Ultimately, they can contribute to the creation of more effective chemicals against pest insects.

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