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Journal Articles eLife Year : 2023

Metabolic consequences of various fruit-based diets in a generalist insect species


Most phytophagous insect species exhibit a limited diet breadth and specialize on a few or a single host plant. In contrast, some species display a remarkably large diet breadth, with host plants spanning several families and many species. It is unclear, however, whether this phylogenetic generalism is supported by a generic metabolic use of common host chemical compounds ('metabolic generalism') or alternatively by distinct uses of diet-specific compounds ('multi-host metabolic specialism')? Here, we simultaneously investigated the metabolomes of fruit diets and of individuals of a generalist phytophagous species, Drosophila suzukii, that developed on them. The direct comparison of metabolomes of diets and consumers enabled us to disentangle the metabolic fate of common and rarer dietary compounds. We showed that the consumption of biochemically dissimilar diets resulted in a canalized, generic response from generalist individuals, consistent with the metabolic generalism hypothesis. We also showed that many diet-specific metabolites, such as those related to the particular color, odor, or taste of diets, were not metabolized, and rather accumulated in consumer individuals, even when probably detrimental to fitness. As a result, while individuals were mostly similar across diets, the detection of their particular diet was straightforward. Our study thus supports the view that dietary generalism may emerge from a passive, opportunistic use of various resources, contrary to more widespread views of an active role of adaptation in this process. Such a passive stance towards dietary chemicals, probably costly in the short term, might favor the later evolution of new diet specializations.
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hal-04147561 , version 1 (30-06-2023)


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Laure Olazcuaga, Raymonde Baltenweck, Nicolas Leménager, Alessandra Maia-Grondard, Patricia Claudel, et al.. Metabolic consequences of various fruit-based diets in a generalist insect species. eLife, 2023, 12, pp.e84370. ⟨10.7554/elife.84370⟩. ⟨hal-04147561⟩
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