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Judy G. Schmalstig and Heather J. McAuslane

Squash silverleaf (SSL) is a physiological disorder of vegetables in the genus Cucurbita L. caused by feeding of nymphs of the silverleaf whitefly (SLW) (Bemisia argentifolii Bellows & Perring). SSL causes a silvering of the leaves and a blanching of fruit. Leaf silvering is caused by developmental separation of the upper epidermis and the palisade mesophyll layer resulting in additional air space and altered light reflection. The anatomical development of SSL was analyzed in young leaves of zucchini squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) using two susceptible genotypes (`Elite' and YSN347-PMR) and two tolerant genotypes (ZUC76-SLR and ZUC33-SLR/PMR). SLW nymphs were allowed to feed only on the mature leaves and the anatomy of the developing leaves was observed by light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Silvering began at the apex of young leaves and developed basipetally. The increased percentage of air space that resulted between the upper epidermis and palisade layers was the result of an increase in the duration of air space development in young, developing leaves. Chloroplasts in silvered tissue of mature leaves and in tissue of young leaves that later became silvered, were smaller and contained less starch than chloroplasts in tissue from noninfested plants. In contrast, development of genetic silvering, a condition not related to whitefly feeding, occurred throughout the entire leaf at one time, beginning as yellowed tissue in the axils of leaf veins then turning silver. Chloroplasts were normal in genetically silvered tissue of genotype YSN421-PMR. The SSL-tolerant genotype, ZUC76-SLR, did not show alteration in chloroplast structure or air space development when challenged with SLW; however, it had shorter and paler petioles, as did the susceptible genotypes. SSL symptoms were induced with spraying of gibberellic acid synthesis inhibitor chlormequat chloride in SSL-susceptible but not in SSL-tolerant genotypes. Reciprocal grafting between susceptible and tolerant plants showed that tolerance resides in the developing tissue and not the mature tissue on which the whiteflies feed.

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Shahab Hanif-Khan, Robert C. Bullock, Peter J. Stoffella, Charles A. Powell, Jeffrey K. Brecht, Heather J. McAuslane, and Raymond K. Yokomi

Silverleaf whitefly (SLW) (Bemisia argentifolii Bellows and Perring) feeding was associated with development of tomato irregular ripening (TIR) symptoms. `Micro-Tom', `Florida Basket', `Florida Lanai', and `Florida Petite' dwarf cherry tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) were infested with adult SLW to observe oviposition preference, plant tolerance, and TIR symptom development in two experiments. There was no oviposition preference among the cultivars in either of the trials. TIR fruit symptoms were expressed as longitudinal red streaks with yellow, green, pink, or red blotches externally and white tissue internally. External TIR symptoms at the pink stage of ripening ranged from 32% (`Micro-Tom') to 82% (`Florida Basket') in Expt. 1 and 44% (`Micro-Tom') to 93% (`Florida Petite') in Expt. 2. In Expt. 1, external TIR symptoms disappeared from 18% (`Florida Lanai') to 37% (`Micro-Tom') and, in Expt. 2, 16% (`Micro-Tom') to 39% (`Florida Basket') of the fruit during ripening. SLW-infested plants exhibited 82% (`Florida Lanai') to 99% (`Florida Basket') and 76% (`Micro-Tom') to 90% (`Florida Petite') of fruit with internal white tissue regardless of external symptoms in Expts. 1 and 2, respectively. Tomatoes with severe TIR symptoms rarely ripened to full red. Postharvest characteristics of ripening SLW-infested and control fruit were evaluated (Expts. 3 and 4). Generally, the SLW-infested fruit were lighter in color than the control fruit. The control fruit developed normal red color while the SLW-infested fruit developed a blotchy, streaky color that was overall more of an orange-red. SLW-infested fruit were firmer than the control fruit in both experiments. Ethylene production was higher in SLW-infested fruit. While the total soluble solids contents were not significantly different between the treatments, the SLW-infested fruit were more acidic than the control fruit. Each cultivar was susceptible to oviposition by SLW and induction of TIR symptoms. However, TIR symptom expression differed among the cultivars. Despite higher ethylene levels, the ripening process in the SLW-infested fruit appeared slower or may have been inhibited by factors induced by the SLW compared with the control fruit, which ripened normally.