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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Research Project #437859

Research Project: Identify Non-Crop Host Plants of the Beet Leafhopper and BLTVA in the Columbia Basin

Location: Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research

Project Number: 2092-21220-002-053-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Mar 1, 2020
End Date: Jun 29, 2022

Identify non-crop host plants of the beet leafhopper and beet leafhopper transmitted virescence agent (BLTVA) in the Columbia Basin.

We will examine the landscape ecology of beet leafhopper by directly examining whether non-crop plants are reservoirs for beet leafhopper transmitted virescence agent (BLTVA) phytoplasma and support egg to adult development of beet leafhopper. To identify non-crop hosts of beet leafhopper and BLTVA, we will sample vegetation in native steppe and along margins of potato fields for beet leafhopper adults and nymphs regularly from early spring until late autumn. Potato fields will also be sampled for leafhopper nymphs and adults throughout the growing season. The sampling work will be performed by a WSU graduate student with partial funding from the Washington Commission for Pesticide Registration. Seed will be collected from plants from which beet leafhoppers are collected, and plants will be grown in the greenhouse. Ten plants per species will be used to confirm egg to adult development of beet leafhopper using standard laboratory approaches. Plants will also be challenged with colony-reared beet leafhoppers infected with BLTVA to confirm the plants’ susceptibility to the pathogen by co-PI Crowder. DNA will be extracted from collected leafhoppers and foliage of potential hosts and will be screened for the presence of BLTVA using diagnostic PCR by WSU and ARS. Samples found to be negative for BLTVA in initial assays will be retested if efforts in Objective 3 lead to a more sensitive diagnostic tool. Non-crop plants on which nymphs are collected or which test positive for BLTVA will also be verified as leafhopper or BLTVA hosts using standard laboratory assays.