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Open AccessArticle

Nutrient Imbalance of the Host Plant for Larvae of the Pale Grass Blue Butterfly May Mediate the Field Effect of Low-Dose Radiation Exposure in Fukushima: Dose-Dependent Changes in the Sodium Content

1
The BCPH Unit of Molecular Physiology, Department of Chemistry, Biology and Marine Science, Faculty of Science, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan
2
Center for Research Advancement and Collaboration, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan
3
Department of Forensic Medicine, Yamagata University, School of Medicine, Yamagata 990-9585, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David Siaussat
Insects 2021, 12(2), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12020149
Received: 4 January 2021 / Revised: 27 January 2021 / Accepted: 5 February 2021 / Published: 9 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Pollutants on Insects)
The pale grass blue butterfly has been used to monitor the biological impacts of the Fukushima nuclear accident because this butterfly is sensitive to low-dose radioactive pollution in the field. However, the butterfly has been shown to be highly tolerant to radioactive cesium (137Cs), the major radionuclide in Fukushima, in an artificial diet in laboratory experiments. This field-laboratory paradox may be explained by the field-effect hypothesis; the host plant may change its nutrient contents in response to radiation stress. Leaves from Tohoku (mostly polluted areas including Fukushima) showed significantly lower sodium contents than those from Niigata. In Tohoku samples, an increase in the radioactivity concentration of cesium (137Cs) in leaves or in the ground radiation dose was accompanied by a decrease in the sodium content. The sodium content appeared to be related to other nutrient factors. Thus, the sodium imbalance of the plant may be caused by radiation stress, and this imbalance may be one of the reasons that this monophagous butterfly showed high mortality and morphological abnormalities in the field shortly after the accident in Fukushima.
The pale grass blue butterfly Zizeeria maha is sensitive to low-dose radioactive pollution from the Fukushima nuclear accident in the field but is also highly tolerant to radioactive cesium (137Cs) in an artificial diet in laboratory experiments. To resolve this field-laboratory paradox, we hypothesize that the butterfly shows vulnerability in the field through biochemical changes in the larval host plant, the creeping wood sorrel Oxalis corniculata, in response to radiation stress. To test this field-effect hypothesis, we examined nutrient contents in the host plant leaves from Tohoku (mostly polluted areas including Fukushima), Niigata, and Kyushu, Japan. Leaves from Tohoku showed significantly lower sodium and lipid contents than those from Niigata. In the Tohoku samples, the sodium content (but not the lipid content) was significantly negatively correlated with the radioactivity concentration of cesium (137Cs) in leaves and with the ground radiation dose. The sodium content was also correlated with other nutrient factors. These results suggest that the sodium imbalance of the plant may be caused by radiation stress and that this nutrient imbalance may be one of the reasons that this monophagous butterfly showed high mortality and morphological abnormalities in the field shortly after the accident in Fukushima. View Full-Text
Keywords: Fukushima nuclear accident; lycaenid butterfly; creeping wood sorrel; nutrient content; Oxalis corniculata; radiation stress Fukushima nuclear accident; lycaenid butterfly; creeping wood sorrel; nutrient content; Oxalis corniculata; radiation stress
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sakauchi, K.; Taira, W.; Toki, M.; Tsuhako, M.; Umetsu, K.; Otaki, J.M. Nutrient Imbalance of the Host Plant for Larvae of the Pale Grass Blue Butterfly May Mediate the Field Effect of Low-Dose Radiation Exposure in Fukushima: Dose-Dependent Changes in the Sodium Content. Insects 2021, 12, 149. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12020149

AMA Style

Sakauchi K, Taira W, Toki M, Tsuhako M, Umetsu K, Otaki JM. Nutrient Imbalance of the Host Plant for Larvae of the Pale Grass Blue Butterfly May Mediate the Field Effect of Low-Dose Radiation Exposure in Fukushima: Dose-Dependent Changes in the Sodium Content. Insects. 2021; 12(2):149. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12020149

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sakauchi, Ko; Taira, Wataru; Toki, Mariko; Tsuhako, Masakazu; Umetsu, Kazuo; Otaki, Joji M. 2021. "Nutrient Imbalance of the Host Plant for Larvae of the Pale Grass Blue Butterfly May Mediate the Field Effect of Low-Dose Radiation Exposure in Fukushima: Dose-Dependent Changes in the Sodium Content" Insects 12, no. 2: 149. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12020149

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