Greenhouse Evaluation of Capsicum Accessions for Resistance to European Corn Borer (Ostrinia nubilalis)

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  • 1 Department of Plant Breeding, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
  • 2 Department of Entomology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
  • 3 Department of Plant Breeding, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

A replicated greenhouse evaluation of a range of commercial and noncommercial (Capsicum spp.) accessions for resistance to european corn borer (ECB) [Ostrinia nubilalis (Hubner)] was conducted. Percentage of fruit damaged was observed among 29 accessions four weeks after plants were artificially infested with ECB egg masses. Small-fruited peppers generally showed lower levels of damage, while large-fruited peppers were the most susceptible. Genotypes with elongate fruit were less damaged than those with bell-shaped fruit. Resistance to fruit damage was also associated with increasing pungency level, with two notable exceptions. The pungent genotype `Large Red Thick Cayenne' was significantly more susceptible than many of the other pungent accessions tested. The relative susceptibility of this accession may be related to large fruit size. The nonpungent pepper `Corno di Toro' showed significantly lower percent fruit damage than other nonpungent peppers including `Banana Supreme' with roughly similar fruit size, ranking amidst highly pungent peppers such as `Red Scotch Bonnet'. These results confirm that resistance to ECB can be identified in nonpungent Capsicum genotypes and demonstrate that pungency is not always correlated with ECB damage. Reported sources of aphid resistance or tolerance showed good levels of ECB resistance, but interpretation of these results was confounded by the presence of pungency.

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