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J Exp Biol. 1997;200(Pt 15):2137-43.

Honeydew sugars and osmoregulation in the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum

Abstract

Pea aphids, Acyrthosiphon pisum, containing their symbiotic bacteria (untreated aphids) and experimentally deprived of their bacteria by treatment with the antibiotic rifampicin (antibiotic-treated aphids) were reared on the plant Vicia faba. The sugars in the honeydew produced by untreated aphids comprised predominantly the monosaccharides glucose and fructose, while the honeydew of antibiotic-treated aphids contained considerable amounts of oligosaccharides of up to 16 hexose units. The honeydew and haemolymph of the aphids were iso-osmotic, and their osmotic pressure was significantly lower in untreated aphids (0.91&shy;0.95 MPa) than in antibiotic-treated aphids (1.01&shy;1.05 MPa) (P<0.05). For insects reared on chemically defined diets containing 0.15&shy;1.0 mol l-1 sucrose (osmotic pressure 1.1&shy;4.0 MPa), the osmotic pressure of the aphid haemolymph did not vary with dietary osmotic pressure, but was regulated to approximately 1.0 MPa in untreated and 1.3 MPa in antibiotic-treated aphids. The sugars in the aphid honeydew varied with dietary sucrose concentration; with monosaccharides dominant at low concentrations and oligosaccharides dominant at high concentrations of dietary sucrose. The lowest dietary sucrose concentration at which honeydew oligosaccharides were detected was 0.2 mol l-1 for the antibiotic-treated aphids and 0.3 mol l-1 for untreated aphids. These data indicate that the aphid, and not its associated microbiota, mediates the synthesis of oligosaccharides when the osmotic pressure of the ingesta is high.

PMID:
9320049
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