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It’s Gut Check Time! A Universal Food Immunomarking Technique for Studying Arthropod Feeding Activities

Author:
James R Hagler
Source:
Annals of the Entomological Society of America 2019 v.112 no.3 pp. 211-219
ISSN:
1938-2901
Subject:
arthropods, carnivores, dead animals, digestive system, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, foraging, herbivores, insect pests, leaves, polymerase chain reaction, predators, protein tagging
Abstract:
The analysis of arthropod feeding activity is often determined by using species-specific postmortem gut content polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). Such mono-specific assays require time, resources, and technical expertise to develop for the food item (usually a pest insect species) that is the target of the investigation. A generic predator gut analysis method was described over a quarter of a century ago that does not require the development of a species-specific gut assay. This generic method remained in relative obscurity until about a decade ago. Recently, it has been used to study a wide range of arthropod feeding activities, such as carnivory, herbivory, scavenging, and other feeding interactions. For this review, I have coined this method as the universal food immunomarking technique (UFIT). The UFIT consists of tagging food items (i.e., prey, foliage, carrion, etc.) with a specific protein. In turn, the gut contents of foraging arthropods are examined for the presence of protein-marked food items by a standardized protein-specific sandwich ELISA. In this article, I give examples of the benefits of the UFIT gut assay approach over prey-specific gut assay approaches and tips on conducting a successful UFIT experiment, and provide examples of how it has been adapted to study a wide variety of arthropod feeding behaviors. My goal is to make researchers aware of another valuable tool in the gut analysis toolbox.
Agid:
6542279
Handle:
10113/6542279