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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Crop Genetics and Breeding Research

2009 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The long-term objective of this project is to develop corn and pearl millet germplasm with reduced aflatoxin contamination and insect damage in order to increase the productivity and quality of grains produced in the southeastern United States. Over the next five years we will: 1) Identify new sources of germplasm with resistance to Aspergillus flavus/aflatoxin contamination, and to multiple ear-feeding insect damage; 2) Determine biochemical and physiological bases and associated key phenotypic traits conferring resistance/ susceptibility to chewing and piercing-sucking insects in corn and pearl millet germplasm; 3) Identify quantitative trait loci associated with reduced aflatoxin accumulation in corn; and 4) Develop maize germplasm with desirable agronomic traits and reduced aflatoxin accumulation and increased resistance to ear-feeding insects for use in the Coastal Plain region.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
In comparison with molecular (gene to trait, or top-down) approach, a trait to gene (bottom-up) approach will be taken for this project. Diverse (exotic and temperate) germplasm will be screened under field conditions for resistance to aflatoxin and insect pests (i.e., corn earworm, fall armyworm, maize weevil, and stink bugs). Field-proven germplasm entries will be further evaluated for key unique phenotypic traits in relation to resistance mechanisms and underlying genetics using both conventional and molecular techniques. Following rigorous field and laboratory screenings, selected germplasm will be further examined for biochemical and physiological bases that confer resistance to multiple insect pests and aflatoxin. Insect resistance mechanisms in the selected corn and pearl millet germplasm will be categorized and the biochemical and physiological processes that confer certain insect resistance will be identified. Segregating populations with resistance to aflatoxin contamination and multiple insect damage will be developed. These new populations will serve as the sources of favorable alleles for ultimately developing aflatoxin- and insect-resistant corn inbred lines with elite agronomic traits, which will improve corn production under biotic and abiotic stresses in our region.

3. Progress Report
Brazilian maize introductions were evaluated for resistance to lepidopteran pests. Temperate corn inbreds were evaluated for corn rootworm and fall armyworm resistance. Elite Germplasm Enhancement of Maize (GEM) project inbreds and hybrids selected from Texas and Iowa programs were evaluated for resistance to ear feeding insects. The same GEM project inbreds and hybrids are evaluated for the foliage feeding insects in 2009. Fall armyworm and southern rust-resistant inbreds from the FAWCCC5 population were advanced. High maysin experimental hybrids were evaluated for resistance to feeding by ear insects (corn earworm, stinkbug, maize weevil) and fall armyworm, as well as for natural enemy attraction in whorl stage. Introduced Chinese inbreds were evaluated for resistance to ear feeding insects, and rust and smut. The co-occurrence of aflatoxin contamination and maize weevil and stinkbug distributions in fields of AgraTech 760RR was assessed. Inoculation methods to allow for more effective screening for Aspergillus flavus and aflatoxin contamination were assessed. Approximately 2500 grain samples were analyzed for aflatoxin using the Vicam procedure.

4. Accomplishments

Review Publications
Macedo, T.B., Peterson, R.D., Weaver, D.K., Ni, X. 2009. Impact of Diuraphis noxia (Mordvilko) and Rhopalosiphum padi (L.) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on primary physiology of four near-isogenic wheat lines. Journal of Economic Entomology 102:412-421.

Ni, X., Da, K., Buntin, G., Brown, S.L. 2008. Physiological basis of fall armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) resistance in the seedlings of maize inbred lines with varying levels of silk maysin. Florida Entomologist 91:537-545.

Cottrell, T.E., Wood, B.W., Ni, X. 2009. Chlorotic feeding injury by the black pecan aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae) to pecan foliage promotes aphid settling and nymphal development. Environmental Entomology. 38:411-416.

Rajewski, J.A., Ni, X., Wilson, J.P., Dweikat, I., Buntin, G.D. 2009. Evaluation of resistance to chinch bug in pearl millet in temperate and subtropical environments. Online. Plant Health Progress doi:10.1094/PHP-2009-0112-01-RS.

Chen, Y., Ni, X., Buntin, G. 2009. Physiological, nutritional and biochemical bases of corn resistance to foliage-feeding fall armyworm (Lepidoptera:noctuidae). Journal of Chemical Ecology 35:297-306.

Chen, Y., Ni, X., Cottrell, T.E., Wood, B.W., Buntin, G. 2009. Changes of oxidase and hydrolase activities in pecan leaves elicited by black pecan aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae) feeding. Journal of Economic Entomology 102:1262-1269.

Last Modified: 06/21/2017
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