Interspecific comparison of constitutive ash phloem phenolic chemistry reveals compounds unique to manchurian ash, a species resistant to emerald ash borer

J Chem Ecol. 2012 May;38(5):499-511. doi: 10.1007/s10886-012-0125-7. Epub 2012 May 16.


The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis, EAB) is an invasive wood-borer indigenous to Asia and is responsible for widespread ash (Fraxinus spp.) mortality in the U.S. and Canada. Resistance and susceptibility to EAB varies among Fraxinus spp., which is a result of their co-evolutionary history with the pest. We characterized constitutive phenolic profiles and lignin levels in the phloem of green, white, black, blue, European, and Manchurian ash. Phloem was sampled twice during the growing season, coinciding with phenology of early and late instar EAB. We identified 66 metabolites that displayed a pattern of variation, which corresponded strongly with phylogeny. Previously identified lignans and lignan derivatives were confirmed to be unique to Manchurian ash, and may contribute to its high level of resistance to EAB. Other compounds that had been considered unique to Manchurian ash, including hydroxycoumarins and the phenylethanoids calceolarioside A and B, were detected in closely related, but susceptible species, and thus are unlikely to contribute to EAB resistance of Manchurian ash. The distinct phenolic profile of blue ash may contribute to its relatively high resistance to EAB.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coleoptera / physiology*
  • Fraxinus / chemistry
  • Fraxinus / physiology*
  • Lignin / chemistry*
  • Lignin / isolation & purification
  • Lignin / metabolism
  • Phenols / chemistry*
  • Phenols / isolation & purification
  • Phenols / metabolism
  • Phloem / chemistry*
  • Phloem / metabolism
  • Seasons
  • Species Specificity


  • Phenols
  • Lignin