Discrimination between regional biotypes of Impatiens glandulifera using a simple MALDI-TOF MS-based method for use with seeds.
Background: We have recently developed a simple, rapid, and relatively-cheap method for matrix-assisted laser-desorption and ionisation time-of-flight mass spectroscopy (MALDI-TOF MS) sample preparation that is applicable to plant material (in addition to microbial and insect material), and have used this to discriminate between closely-related Impatiens species and between regional biotypes of the invasive weed Impatiens glandulifera (commonly known as Himalayan balsam) using leaf samples. In the current paper, we have developed a complementary MALDI-TOF MS-based method for use with seeds. We have employed a combination of principal-component analysis and blind-tested comparison between reference-sample MALDI-TOF MS spectra and test-sample spectra to discriminate, on the basis of the acid-soluble seed-protein spectra generated by our method, between four regional biotypes of I. glandulifera from within the UK that differ in their susceptibility to the biological control agent Himalayan balsam rust (Puccinia komarovii var. glanduliferae). Results: Peak-rich and highly-reproducible spectra were obtained and, in blind testing with test seeds collected in 2017 against reference seeds collected in 2017, we observed 100% identification accuracy in 12 blind tests. In blind testing with test seeds collected in 2016 against reference seeds collected in 2017, we observed 92% identification accuracy in 12 blind tests. Conclusions: MALDI-TOF MS analysis of seed material is able to discriminate between regional biotypes of I. glandulifera. MALDI-TOF MS therefore has the potential to improve the efficiency and efficacy of weed biological control using co-evolved natural enemies of invasive non-native plant species, through the matching of biological control agents with susceptible regional biotypes.