Location: Fruit and Vegetable Insect Research
2013 Annual Report
The potato psyllid has recently become a major concern because of its direct feeding and vectoring of diseases caused by the bacterium liberibacter to potato, tomato, pepper, tobacco, and other important solanaceous crops in U.S. and other countries. A series of studies assessed liberibacter transmission to potato, tomato, and pepper by the potato psyllid under laboratory conditions and determined density of potato psyllid required for this insect pest to effectively cause diseases in potato, tomato, and pepper. It was confirmed that there are no significant differences in feeding behavior of the potato psyllid on the three host plants. However, it was determined that liberibacter titer was significantly higher in tomato and pepper plants than in potato. It was also confirmed that as few as one liberibacter-infective potato psyllid per plant is enough to effectively induce the disease after a six hour exposure to each of the three host plants and, leading to significant yield loss. In addition, it was determined that all the plant growth stages of potato, tomato, and pepper are susceptible to the bacterium. Information from this research will help reduce damage caused by liberibacter to potato, tomato, and pepper crops by vigorously targeting the potato psyllid for control.