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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT OF PESTS AFFECTING COTTON: PLANT GENETICS, BIOCONTROL, AND NOVEL METHODS OF PEST ESTIMATION
2006 Annual Report


1.What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? Why does it matter?
Research on new biological controls of insects and methods to combat plant pathogens is conducted under NP 304 Development of New and Improved Pest Control Technologies. Research to determine insect movement patterns is conducted under NP 304 Integrated Pest Management and Pest Control Technologies. The cotton germplasm enhancement research contributes to NP 301 component Genomic Characterization and Genetic Improvement.

Cotton production currently uses large amounts of water, synthetic chemicals and additional physical inputs that reduce profitability. It is also perceived that current efforts in breeding have led to a plateau in cotton quality and yield. The Western Integrated Cropping Systems Research Unit is enhancing cotton germplasm and discovering materials and methods for producing cotton with environmentally and socially acceptable methods. Movement of cotton pests among the multiple crops of California makes controlling these insects difficult. Studies to determine movement within the crop landscape will help predict when insects may become problematic. Introduction of new biological control agents of cotton insect pests and development of microbial pesticides will reduce dependence on chemicals. A new, virulent race of a Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum (FOV) is threatening cotton production in California. Studies are conducted to reduce the impact of the disease and to determine methods to limit its spread. The development and application of molecular markers combined with traditional genetics will help to identify, map, and follow traits that can be used in elite cotton germplasm to enhance cotton yield and quality or impart fungal and insect pest resistance.

These issues are important to producers, other scientists, and, ultimately, the consumer. As urbanization encroaches on prime farmland, Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) activities affect farm chemical use, and emerging concerns over the effect of farming practices on air quality, it is possible current practices will be regulated out of existence. At the present time, few alternatives exist for pest control and other conventional farming practices. If chemical controls for aphid and other pests are reduced, sticky cotton issues will become more important. The development of alternative management options that arise from research in germplasm enhancement, insect control and disease management will assist the cotton industry to more effectively compete in a global market.


2.List by year the currently approved milestones (indicators of research progress)
FY2005: Efforts to identify specific molecular markers for Beauveria bassiana isolates of interest and additional field testing will be completed.

Mark recapture experiments for determination of Lygus abundance and movement will be completed.

Germplasm will be selected in preparation for host plant resistance studies and identification of SSR markers for genetic diversity studies.

Development and identification of molecular markers for diverse genome analysis and for cotton improvement can be used to gain knowledge of the structural genomics and map locations of loci affecting agronomically important traits will be initiated.

FY2006: B. bassiana field tests will continue with an emphasis on formulation, rate and timing of application. Behavioral studies of Lygus parasites will be completed and a regional model of Lygus population dynamics initiated.

A new plant pathology laboratory will be established and staffed; methods for culturing and infecting plants with FOV will be established.

F. oxysporum epidemiology and seed pathology studies will be initiated.

Research will begin to screen cotton germplasm for resistance to insects and Fusarium.

Greenhouse and field germplasm evaluations for Fusarium wilt disease will continue.

Germplasm selection in preparation for host plant resistance studies and identification of SSR markers for genetic diversity studies and mapping will continue.

Development and identification of molecular markers for diverse genome analysis and for cotton improvement can be used to gain knowledge of the structural genomics and map locations of loci affecting agronomically important traits will continue.

Research to develop additional molecular markers for genetic diversity studies and mapping will continue.

A mapping population will be developed for Fusarium host resistance studies.

FY2007: B. bassiana field tests and host range analysis will continue and technology transfer activities will focus on companies interested in developing microbial pesticides.

Behavioral studies of aphid parasites will be completed; field dispersal studies for Lygus and aphid parasites will be initiated.

The growth chamber study examining environmental factors contributing to disease severity, as well as the seed treatment study will be completed.

Field trials on soil treatments against FOV will begin. Fingerprinting of a selected mapping population will begin for the identification of marker(s) for use in marker assisted selection.

Molecular characterization of B. bassiana and other fungal pathogens will continue to identify specific molecular markers for specific strains.

Screening cotton germplasm for resistance to insects and Fusarium will continue.

Development of additional molecular markers for genetic diversity studies and mapping will continue. A mapping population will be utilized for Fusarium host resistance studies.

Development and identification of molecular markers for diverse genome analysis and for the improvement of cotton will continue in order to gain knowledge in the structural genomics and map locations of loci affecting agronomically important traits will continue.

FY2008: Biological attributes of B. bassiana (host range, field activity, solar stability, etc.) will be completed and published.

Insect parasite work will be completed and published.

Testing of a regional Lygus model will begin.

Molecular characterization of B. bassiana and other fungal pathogens to identify specific molecular markers for specific strains will be completed.

Field trials testing soil treatments against FOV will be completed. US FOV isolates will begin to be collected and genotyped. Resistant germplasm accessions will be crossed and advanced for further selection.

Research to develop molecular markers for resistance to Fusarium and genetic mapping will continue.

Evaluation of host plant resistance to Fusarium wilt will continue.

Fingerprinting of a selected mapping population will continue for the identification of marker(s) for use in marker assisted selection.

Development and identification of molecular markers for diverse genome analysis and for the improvement of cotton will continue in order to gain knowledge in the structural genomics and map locations of loci affecting agronomically important traits will continue.

FY2009: Extensive on farm trials will determine the effectiveness of B. bassiana as a microbial pesticide. A biological database and model for Lygus prevalence will be finalized and published. Research on mechanisms of seed infection by FOV will be initiated, and collecting/genotyping of US FOV isolates will continue. Field evaluations for host plant resistance studies will be conducted. Studies to develop additional molecular markers for candidate genes will continue.

FY2010: Field evaluations for host plant resistance studies will be conducted. Studies to develop additional molecular markers for candidate genes will continue.

Development and identification of molecular markers for diverse genome analysis and for the improvement of cotton crop will continue in order to gain knowledge in the structural genomics and map locations of loci affecting agronomically important traits will continue.


4a.List the single most significant research accomplishment during FY 2006.
Heat stress causes severe reduction in lint yield and fiber quality in the cotton crop in the U.S. A cotton germplasm line, SJ-U86, was developed by the Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture and Cotton Incorporated, and jointly released with the University of California in 2006. The primary reason for the release of the SJ-U86 line as an alternative germplasm choice is its significantly higher lint yield and higher lint percent when compared with those of well-known Acala high-quality cottons, with no overall sacrifice of fiber quality. In addition to its superior performance in the San Joaquin Valley of California, SJ-U86 performs much better in the heat stress environment of Maricopa, AZ, where Acala cultivars Maxxa and Phytogen 72 yield poorly. SJ-U86 provides an alternative source for public and private breeders in the far west, especially in California, for improving heat tolerance in Acala cottons that was lacking before. The research is conducted under NP 304 (Crop Protection & Quarantine) Component II (Biology of Pests and Natural Enemies (Microbes) and addresses the Problem A (Basic Biology) by developing fundamental biological knowledge to develop efficient, viable, environmentally friendly, ecologically sound and sustainable strategies of pest control.


4b.List other significant research accomplishment(s), if any.
The Plant Pathologist SY vacancy was filled and the new hire began in September 2005. OSQR objectives were rewritten to reflect perceived needs of growers and industry. A biological laboratory technician was hired under a term appointment and began in October. Most necessary lab equipment has been acquired and protocols for culturing FOV and inoculating plants have been established. The research is conducted under NP 304 (Crop Protection & Quarantine) Component II (Biology of Pests and Natural Enemies (Microbes) and addresses the Problem A (Basic Biology) by developing fundamental biological knowledge to develop efficient, viable, environmentally friendly, ecologically sound and sustainable strategies of pest control.

Significant quantities of commercial seed are produced in California due to ideal environmental conditions. Since FOV is known to be seed-transmitted, the incidence of seed infected by FOV race 4 is a major concern of the commercial seed producers and growers. Seed were collected from infected plants in 2005 to assay for race 4 and to test heat treatments for eliminating FOV. While very small numbers of Fusarium species have been obtained from seed, no race 4 isolates of FOV have been found among the 5000 seeds screened to date. Epidemiological evidence from new areas confirmed to be infested with FOV race 4 suggests that seed infection occurs at very small frequencies (circa 1/20,000 seed), yet is still a likely contributor to the continuing spread of FOV race 4. Since relatively high levels of seed infection are necessary to test efficacy of seed treatments, a cooperator in Louisiana (Patrick Colyer, Red River Research Station, LSU) has been secured in order obtain FOV-infected seed in 2006. The research is conducted under NP 304 (Crop Protection & Quarantine) Component II (Biology of Pests and Natural Enemies (Microbes) and addresses the Problem A (Basic Biology) by developing fundamental biological knowledge to develop efficient, viable, environmentally friendly, ecologically sound and sustainable strategies of pest control.


4c.List significant activities that support special target populations.
None.


4d.Progress report.
None.


5.Describe the major accomplishments to date and their predicted or actual impact.
This project was initiated in May 2005. Refer to final report for CRIS 5303-21220-002-00D, Western Integrated Cropping Systems for major accomplishments.

Cotton is the world’s most important fiber producing crop, and research efforts are ongoing at many locations to breed varieties with increased fiber quality, yield, and other traits. To help speed the process, molecular markers are efficient tools for genome analysis in many crop species. In collaboration with colleagues, a new set of microsatellite or simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers was developed from the sequence information of a fiber EST database from the diploid species Gossypium arboreum and inserted genomic BAC-ends of Acala ‘Maxxa’, G. hirsutum. New markers, totaling about 1,019 MUSS and MUCS from expressed fiber genes and 1,082 MUSB from BAC-ends successfully amplified PCR DNA products from a survey panel of six cotton (Gossypium) species, discriminating and showing some sequence similarity to the genes with known function including fiber elongation-related genes. With these markers a new genetic map was developed covering approximately 45% of the cotton genome. Molecular markers can be used as a framework to gain knowledge in the structural genomics and map locations of genes affecting agronomically important traits for diverse genome analysis and for the improvement of cotton. The research is conducted under NP 304 (Crop Protection & Quarantine) Component II (Biology of Pests and Natural Enemies (Microbes) and addresses the Problem A (Basic Biology) by developing fundamental biological knowledge to develop efficient, viable, environmentally friendly, ecologically sound and sustainable strategies of pest control.


6.What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end-user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products?
Through annual field days, and grower/industry meetings, scientific results and progress are reported via verbal presentations and brief non-technical summaries. These included reports on FOV seed pathology, Lygus biocontrol and population dynamics, new aphid parasites and cotton germplasm enhancement. In the next few years, we anticipate making available to private companies isolates of Beauveria bassiana and important germplasm traits, as well as being able to provide substantiated recommendations to growers for management of FOV through effective soil and seed treatments. The adoption of the technologies is dependent on suitable and production requirements.


Review Publications
Bancroft, J.S. 2005. Dispersal and abundance of Lygus hesperus in three field crops. Environmental Entomology. Vol. 34, No. 6, pp. 1517-1523.

Bancroft, J.S., Hutmacher, R., Godfrey, L., Goodell, P., Mcguire, M.R., Funk, P.A., Wright, S. 2006. Comparison of sticky cotton indices and sugar composition. Journal of Cotton Science. 10:97-104.

DeTar, W.R., Funk, H.A. 2006. Using a subsurface drip irrigation system to measure crop coefficients and water use of cowpea (vigna unguiculata). Meeting Proceedings. Calif. Dry Bean Advisory Board Progress Report. p. 45-49.

Frelichowski, J.E., Palmer, M.B., Main, D., Tomkins, J.P., Cantrell, R.G., Stelly, D.M., Yu, J., Kohel, R.J., Ulloa, M. 2006. Cotton genome mapping with new microsatellites from Acala 'Maxxa' BAC-ends. Mol. Genet. Genom. 275:479-491.

Frelichowski Jr., J.E., Ulloa, M. 2006. Progress report for the evaluation of cotton landraces from the USDA-ARS cotton germplasm collection. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. p. 771-773.

McGuire, M.R., Leland, J.E. 2006. Field trials of Beauveria bassiana against Lygus spp. in California and Mississippi. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. p. 1389-1392.

Park, Y.H., Alabady, M.S., Ulloa, M., Sickler, B., Wilkins, T.A., Yu, J., Stelly, D.M., Kohel, R.J., El-Shihy, O.M., Cantrell, R.G. 2005. Genetic mapping of new cotton fiber loci using EST-derived microsatellites in an interspecific recombinant inbred line cotton population. Mol. Genet.Genom. 274:428-441.

Ulloa, M., Mcd. Stewart, J., Garcia-C, E.A., Godoy-A, S., Gaytan-M, A., Acosta-N, S. 2006. Cotton genetic resources in the western states of Mexico: in situ conservation status and germplasm collection for ex situ preservation. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. 53(4):653-668.

Ulloa, M., Hutmacher, R.B., Davis, R.M., Wright, S.D., Percy, R.G., Marsh, B. 2006. Breeding for Fusarium wilt race 4 resistance in cotton under field and greenhouse conditions. J. Cot. Sci. 10:114-127.

Ulloa, M. 2006. Heritability and correlations of agronomic and fiber traits in an okra-leaf upland cotton population. Crop Science. 46:1508-1514.

Ulloa, M., Hutmacher, B., Davis, R.M., Bennett, R., Percy, R.G., Marsh, B., Wright, S., Mcguire, M.R. 2006. Commercial and improved germplasm evaluations for Fusarium wilt, FOV race 1 with root-knot nematodes and race 4. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. p. 883-893.

Wang, C., Ulloa, M., Roberts, P.A. 2006. Identification and mapping of microsatellite markers linked to a root-knot nematode resistance gene (rkn1) in acala NemX cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). Theor. Appl. Genet. 112:770-777.

Last Modified: 11/20/2014
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