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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Development of An "early Warning" Monitoring Tool for Potato Psllid, the Vector of Zebra Chip Disease of Potatoes

Location: Fruit and Vegetable Insect Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Develop monitoring methods for potato psyllid, and determine effects of tuber storage on disease progression.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
1. Olfactometer tests to assess activity of putative chemical attractants 2. Identification of attractants using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry 3. Field tests to assess field activity of compounds 4. Comparison of compounds with standard monitoring tools (yellow sticky traps) 5. Field tests to determine relationship between timing of psyllid infestation and expression of disease symptoms in tubers


3.Progress Report:

The work summarized in this progress report relates to objective number 2 in the Project Plan for 018-00D: 2. Develop monitoring methods and techniques that reduce grower risk from wireworms that improve predictability of threats to potatoes; and objective number 1 in the Project Plan for 020-00D: 1. Develop monitoring methods for integrated pest management of potato insect pests.

Objectives of this project were to develop an efficient monitoring tool for potato psyllid which can be used to replace or complement currently available tools. Several target chemicals extracted from the cuticles of female psyllids and potentially involved in sex attraction were tested in laboratory assays and in field trials. Assays were done in cooperation with scientists in Texas and a pheromone chemist with University of California. Compounds tested in assays were synthesized by the university cooperator. One compound showed significant biological activity in laboratory trials, and modest attractiveness in one field trial. Additional laboratory trials suggest that different populations of potato psyllid may differ in response to targeted compounds, and that chemicals extracted from psyllids of one population may be attractive to males of that genetic population but not to psyllids from other geographic regions. Studies are ongoing to identify other chemicals involved in attraction, with objectives to improve effectiveness of the original targeted compound under field conditions and to determine how geographic origin of the psyllid affects response to attractants. The end objective of having an efficient monitoring tool for potato psyllid which is based upon chemical attraction has been complicated by our behavioral assays showing that different populations of the psyllid respond unequally to our possible attractants.


Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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