Submitted to: International Journal of Vegetable Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/8/2008
Publication Date: 1/1/2009
Citation: Simmons, A.M., Abd-Rabou, S. 2009. Population of the Sweetpotato Whitefly in Response to Different Rates of Three Sulfur-Containing Fertilizers on Ten Vegetable Crops. International Journal of Vegetable Science. 15:57-70. Interpretive Summary: Whiteflies in the Bemisia group are major pests on crops in the USA as well as in many other countries around the world. Different crop production practices may have an effect of the number of whiteflies in crops. A study was conducted to determine any effect of different rates of three sulfur-containing fertilizers on the numbers of the B-biotype sweetpotato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) on 10 vegetable crops. The fertilizers were ammonium sulfate, potassium sulfate, and superphosphate. Three different rates were used on each crop in the field. Immature and adult whitefly numbers were generally increased with either increased rates of ammonium sulfate or decreased rates of potassium sulfate. However, changing the rate of the superphosphate fertilizer generally did not have an effect on the number of whiteflies. Both field and laboratory data suggest a reduction in whitefly numbers on cabbage and cucumber in response to increased rates of ammonium sulfate. Each fertilizer in the study provides more than one essential nutrient to the plants. The results from this study support that certain sulfur-containing fertilizers may have an effect on the number of whitefly pests in the field.
Technical Abstract: Whiteflies in the Bemisia complex are a global pest on numerous horticultural crops. The effect of production practices on the population of the B-biotype sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), is only partly understood. A study was conducted to examine the effect of different rates of three selected sulfur-containing fertilizers (ammonium sulfate, potassium sulfate, and superphosphate) on the population of B. tabaci in 10 selected vegetable crops. Three different rates were tested in the field for each fertilizer, but the specific rates varied among crops to reflect local recommendations in comparison with higher and lower rates. Egg, nymph, and adult whitefly counts were generally elevated with increased rates of ammonium sulfate or decreased rates of potassium sulfate. Conversely, within crops, whitefly populations were generally similar among the rates for the superphosphate fertilizer treatments. Field and laboratory data suggested a reduction in whitefly counts on cabbage and cucumber in response to increased rates of ammonium sulfate. Although each fertilizer in the study provides more than one essential nutrient to the crops, the results from the study support that certain sulfur-containing fertilizers may affect the population of the sweetpotato whitefly in vegetable crops.