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Proteomic Investigation of Aphid Honeydew Reveals an Unexpected Diversity of Proteins
Aphids feed on the phloem sap of plants, and are the most common honeydew-producing insects. While aphid honeydew is primarily considered to comprise sugars and amino acids, its protein diversity has yet to be documented. Here, we report on the investigation of the honeydew proteome from the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. Using a two-Dimensional Differential in-Gel Electrophoresis (2D-Dige) approach, more than 140 spots were isolated, demonstrating that aphid honeydew also represents a diverse source of proteins. About 66% of the isolated spots were identified through mass spectrometry analysis, revealing that the protein diversity of aphid honeydew originates from several organisms (i.e. the host aphid and its microbiota, including endosymbiotic bacteria and gut flora). Interestingly, our experiments also allowed to identify some proteins like chaperonin, GroEL and Dnak chaperones, elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu), and flagellin that might act as mediators in the plant-aphid interaction. In addition to providing the first aphid honeydew proteome analysis, we propose to reconsider the importance of this substance, mainly acknowledged to be a waste product, from the aphid ecology perspective.
http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0074656
 

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"Therefore, the protein content of aphid honeydew might represent a valuable food source for herbivorous insects, by providing a combination of sugar, amino acids, and proteins. Indeed, plants covered by honeydew have been observed to attract a multitude of flying and crawling insects; thus, promoting high biodiversity in their immediate environment (Francis, personal communication)."

​I wonder?
 

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It is worth pointing out that in several countries (Turkey, Italy, Spain, Lithuaniia, Croatia and several more) one can purchase honey made by bees feedingcollecting on aphid-produced honey dews. These are often called "Forest Honey" because the aphid species secreting the honey dew feed on assorted forest trees such as Pine, Oak, etc. For some information on the topic, you can link to: http://www.honeytraveler.com/single-flower-honey/honeydew-or-forest-honeys/#citrus
 
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