Isotopes and trace elements as natal origin markers of Helicoverpa armigera - An experimental model for biosecurity pests
Holder, Peter W.; Armstrong, Karen F.; Van Hale, R.; Millet, M.-A.; Frew, R.; Clough, Timothy J.; Baker, J. A.
Protecting a nation's primary production sector and natural estate is heavily dependent on the ability to determine the risk presented by incursions of exotic insect species. Identifying the geographic origin of such biosecurity breaches can be crucial in determining this risk and directing the appropriate operational responses and eradication campaigns, as well as ascertaining incursion pathways. Reading natural abundance biogeochemical markers using mass spectrometry is a powerful tool for tracing ecological pathways as well as provenance determination of commercial products and items of forensic interest. However, application of these methods to trace insects has been underutilised to date and our understanding in this field is still in a phase of basic development. In addition, biogeochemical markers have never been considered in the atypical situation of a biosecurity incursion, where sample sizes are often small, and of unknown geographic origin and plant host. These constraints effectively confound the interpretation of the one or two isotope geolocation markers systems that are currently used, which are therefore unlikely to achieve the level of provenance resolution required in biosecurity interceptions. Here, a novel approach is taken to evaluate the potential for provenance resolution of insect samples through multiple biogeochemical markers. The international pest, Helicoverpa armigera, has been used as a model species to assess the validity of using naturally occurring δ2H, 87Sr/ 86Sr, 207Pb/206Pb and 208Pb/ 206Pb isotope ratios and trace element concentration signatures from single moth specimens for regional assignment to natal origin. None of the biogeochemical markers selected were individually able to separate moths from the different experimental regions (150-3000 km apart). Conversely, using multivariate analysis, the region of origin was correctly identified for approximately 75% of individual H. armigera samples. The geographic resolution demonstrated with this approach has considerable potential for biosecurity as well as other disciplines including forensics, ecology and pest management. © 2014 Holder et al.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsbiosecurity; biogeochemical markers; Helicoverpa armigera; isotopes; General Science & Technology; Animals; Lepidoptera; Trace Elements; Multivariate Analysis; Introduced Species; Biomarkers
Fields of Research1002 Environmental Biotechnology; 060101 Analytical Biochemistry; 0402 Geochemistry
© 2014 Holder et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.