Modification of chrysanthemum odour and taste with chrysanthemol synthase induces strong dual resistance against cotton aphids

Hao Hu, Jinjin Li, Thierry Delatte, Jacques Vervoort, Liping Gao, Francel Verstappen, Wei Xiong, Jianping Gan, Maarten A. Jongsma, Caiyun Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Aphids are pests of chrysanthemum that employ plant volatiles to select host plants and ingest cell contents to probe host quality before engaging in prolonged feeding and reproduction. Changes in volatile and nonvolatile metabolite profiles can disrupt aphid-plant interactions and provide new methods of pest control. Chrysanthemol synthase (CHS) from Tanacetum cinerariifolium represents the first committed step in the biosynthesis of pyrethrin ester insecticides, but no biological role for the chrysanthemol product alone has yet been documented. In this study, the TcCHS gene was over-expressed in Chrysanthemum morifolium and resulted in both the emission of volatile chrysanthemol (ca. 47 pmol/h/gFW) and accumulation of a chrysanthemol glycoside derivative, identified by NMR as chrysanthemyl-6-O-malonyl-β-D-glucopyranoside (ca. 1.1 mM), with no detrimental phenotypic effects. Dual-choice assays separately assaying these compounds in pure form and as part of the headspace and extract demonstrated independent bioactivity of both components against the cotton aphid (Aphis gossypii). Performance assays showed that the TcCHS plants significantly reduced aphid reproduction, consistent with disturbance of aphid probing activities on these plants as revealed by electropenetrogram (EPG) studies. In open-field trials, aphid population development was very strongly impaired demonstrating the robustness and high impact of the trait. The results suggest that expression of the TcCHS gene induces a dual defence system, with both repellence by chrysanthemol odour and deterrence by its nonvolatile glycoside, introducing a promising new option for engineering aphid control into plants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1434-1445
JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
Issue number8
Early online date1 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Aphid resistance
  • Chrysanthemol synthase
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Double bioactivity
  • Glycoside
  • Terpene volatile


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