Thrips Resistance Studies of Onions (Allium cepa L.) in South Texas

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  • 1 Vegetable Improvement Center, Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2133
  • | 2 Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Weslaco, TX 78596
  • | 3 Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Lubbock, TX 79401
  • | 4 Asgrow Seed Co., 1500 Research Parkway, Suite 120, College Station, TX 77843-2119

Thrips are the major insect pest of onions grown in South Texas. Four cultivars, `IPA-3', `TG1015Y', `1664' (glossy control), and `1900B' (waxy control), were grown in a split-plot design with insecticide sprayed or nonsprayed treatments as the main plots and cultivar as the subplots. The experiment was conducted at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Weslaco, Texas, in the 1995-96 season. The objectives of the study were to compare `IPA-3' and `TG1015Y' for thrips resistance and evaluate possible resistance mechanisms that may be present in `IPA-3'. The average number of thrips per plant and leaf damage rating were significantly higher for `TG1015Y', indicating that some resistance is present in `IPA-3'. However, there were no significant differences in yield between the two cultivars. A comparison of leaf wax characteristics indicated no significant difference between `TG1015Y' and `IPA-3' using gravimetric or gas chromatography techniques. However, scanning electron micrographs of `TG1015Y' leaves appeared more similar to `1900B' and `IPA-3' appeared more similar to `1664'. The insecticide spray treatment had significantly fewer thrips, less damage, and higher yield than the nonsprayed treatment.

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