Ear Feeding Resistance of Sweet Corn Inbreds to Pink Stem Borer

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Pink stem borer (Sesamia nonagrioides Lef.) is one of the most important insect pests of corn (Zea mays L.) in southern Europe. The objectives of this work were to determine the level of resistance in different sweet corn inbreds and to identify sources of resistance to ear feeding by the pink stem borer. Twenty-eight sweet corn (su1 and su1se1) inbreds and four resistant field corn (Su1Se1) inbreds were evaluated for ear resistance at different sowing dates, under two methods of artificial infestation. There were significant differences between infestation methods for ears with damaged grain, husks, cobs, and shanks. The inbred×infestation method interaction was significant for general appearance of the ear. The most resistant inbreds were identified by using mean comparisons and principal component analysis of ear damage traits. All inbreds were damaged. Hence, resistance was incomplete and in need of improvement. EP59, H3, I5125, IL767b, and V7726 were the most resistant sweet corn inbreds, which did not differ significantly from A635, the most resistant field corn inbred. General appearance of the ear appears to be a good indicator of pink stem borer resistance and can be used in preliminary evaluation. Variability exists in the resistance of these sweet inbreds to the pink stem borer and the use of field corn inbreds may not be necessary in the improvement of resistance, although further research is needed to determine if the sources differ in the pertinent genes conferring resistance.

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