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Liquid Chromatography‐Mass Spectrometry for the Detection of Ash Tree Metabolites following Emerald Ash Borer Infestation

Abstract Rationale

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, an invasive insect detected in the U.S.A. and Canada in 2002, is a threat to ash trees with both ecological and economic implications. Early detection of EAB‐infestation is difficult due to lack of visible signs and symptoms in the early stages of attack, but is essential to prevent ash mortality. An efficient and reliable tool for the early detection of EAB‐infestation would be advantageous.


A mass spectrometry‐based metabolomics approach, using liquid chromatography‐mass spectrometry (LC‐MS), has been used to investigate the leaf metabolites of both healthy and EAB‐infested trees.


Leaves from 40 healthy and 40 EAB‐infested trees were extracted and analyzed using LC‐MS. Resulting data were examined to differentiate between foliage from healthy and EAB‐infested trees. Possible biomarkers of EAB attack have been detected. Twenty‐one metabolites with increased average ion intensity in EAB‐infested ash tree samples, and nine metabolites with increased average ion intensity in healthy ash tree samples were identified.


Results of this study indicate that metabolomic screening of leaf samples using LC‐MS can be useful as a potential tool for the early detection of EAB‐infestation.

Authors:   Naomi L. Stock, Michael.C. Doran, Ron F. Bonner, Raymond.E. March
Journal:   Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Year:   2018
Pages:   n/a
DOI:   10.1002/rcm.8057
Publication date:   06-Jan-2018
Facts, background information, dossiers
  • metabolites
  • samples
  • spectrometry
  • mortality
  • metabolomics
  • Emerald
  • Canada
  • biomarkers
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