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  • Author or Editor: Brent V. Brodheck x
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The xylophagous leafhopper, Homalodisca coagulata (Say), is an important vector of diseases caused by Xylella fastidiosa (e.g., Pierce's disease, phony peach disease, plum leaf scald, etc.). The nutritional status of xylem fluid has a profound influence on leafhopper distribution, feeding, and performance. Xylem fluid typically consists of 95% to 99% water and contains organic compounds (mainly amino acids and organic acids) in low concentration (i.e., 2 to 8 mM). Successful development of this highly polyphagous leafhopper depended on host-plant chemistry. The reasons for variable success on different host species include variable assimilation efficiency of organic compounds and variable feeding rates. An assessment of nutritional requirements for leafhoppers is an integral component for developing a “whole systems” approach for the biological control of xylem-limited diseases. Soybean (Glycine max L.) was used as a model system in a 2 x 2 factorial experiment, with Rhizobium (inoculation/noninoculation) and fertilization source (urea or nitrate) as the main factors, to assess the influence of specific dietary profiles of xylem fluid on leafhopper performance. These treatments resulted in a high survivorship throughout development (inoculated urea); low survivorship throughout development (noninoculated nitrate); high survivorship for nymphs, but decreasing with age (noninoculated urea); and low survivorship for nymphs, but increasing with age (inoculated nitrate). Consumption rates, maturation time, body weight, and body composition were also correlated to host-plant chemistry.

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