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Research Project: Sustainable Approaches for Pest Management in Vegetable Crops

Location: Vegetable Research

Title: Effect of climate change on Bemisia tabaci in Southeastern USA

item Simmons, Alvin
item Levi, Amnon

Submitted to: International Plant Resistance to Insects Workshop Abstracts & Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/9/2016
Publication Date: 9/30/2016
Citation: Simmons, A.M., Levi, A. 2016. Effect of climate change on Bemisia tabaci in Southeastern USA. International Plant Resistance to Insects Workshop Abstracts & Proceedings. p. 31.

Interpretive Summary: N/A

Technical Abstract: Traditional and molecular approaches can be used to improve cultivated watermelon (Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus) against whiteflies. The Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) whitefly complex attacks many crops on a global scale. It is very adaptive, and it feeds on over 1,000 diverse species of plants. Commercial watermelon is among the crops attacked by this insect as a result of direct feeding on leaves and indirectly by the viruses that it transmits. Commercial watermelon cultivars share a narrow genetic base and are susceptible to many pests and diseases. However, Citrullus colocynthis is a wild perennial desert melon species that has a broad genetic base and offers viable sources of resistance to insect pests and diseases of watermelon. This wild species is indigenous to arid regions of Northern Africa, the Mediterranean, and Southwest Asia. Experiments were conducted on Citrullus genotypes from different geographic regions for resistance against B. tabaci. Plant tolerance, antibiosis and non-preference are importance in this resistance. Therefore, diverse laboratory, greenhouse, and field assays were conducted. One novel assay was a vertical Y-tube monitoring technique which served as a tool for the rapid testing of whitefly response to phytochemicals as well as for the collection of data on whitefly oviposition and survival. Differences in leaf chemical profiles among some cultivated and wild Citrullus genotypes were identified. Moreover, compositions of leaf volatiles between cultivated and wild germplasm were identified and compared. Wild sources were identified that offer whitefly resistance, and these germplasm lines are being used to improve commercial watermelon cultivars.