John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Effects of single and combined heavy metals and their chelators on aphid performance and preferences

When present at elevated levels in the environment, heavy metals are toxic for most organisms. However, so‐called hyperaccumulator plants tolerate heavy metals and use chelators for their internal long‐distance transport. Thus, phloem‐sucking insects may come in contact with the chelated metals. In this study, the effects of individual and combined heavy metals, zinc and cadmium, as well as of common chelators, nicotianamine and phytochelatin, were investigated on the performance, preferences, and metal accumulation of the generalist aphid Myzus persicae, using artificial diets. Whereas added Zn increased aphid growth, Cd reduced the survival of aphids. Chelators had neither protective nor negative effects on aphids. The combination of both heavy metals in chelated or non‐chelated form caused a potentiation effect that led to an extinction of the aphids within less than two weeks, before aphids could reproduce. Both Cd and Zn accumulated in the aphids, indicating a possible biomagnification. In choice assays, aphids preferred diets amended with Zn with or without nicotianamine compared to control diet. In contrast, Cd‐containing diet led neither to attraction nor aversion. This study provides first insights into how mixtures of heavy metals and their chelators influence the life history of a generalist aphid. The results have implications for the use of phytoremediation to remove heavy metals from contaminated soils. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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