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Leonardo Lombardini, Hermann Restrepo-Diaz and Astrid Volder

An experiment was conducted to investigate the morphologic characteristics and photosynthetic response of sun and shade leaves of mature pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] trees. Treatments were established according to leaf type (sun or shade leaves) and cultivar (Pawnee and Stuart). Sun leaves were chosen from those growing on exterior portions of the tree canopy and exposed to full sunlight for most of the day [≥1500 μmol·m−2·s−1 photosynthetic photon flux (PPF)]. Shade leaves were those growing in interior parts of the tree canopy (≤100 μmol·m−2·s−1 PPF). Epidermis characteristics, leaf area, and chlorophyll (Chl) content were also measured. Results indicated that stomatal density (stomata/mm2), leaf area, and leaflet area were greater in sun leaves than in shade leaves in both cultivars investigated. Specific leaf area was greater in shade leaves than sun leaves. Chlorophyll fluorescence, total Chl content, Chl a, Chl b, and Chl a/b were unaffected by leaf type or cultivar. In both cultivars, photosynthetic light response curves showed that area-based maximum assimilation rate (Amax) in shade leaves was about half of that measured in sun leaves in June through August. However, in October, Amax of sun leaves dropped to values similar to those measured in shade leaves. Light compensation point of photosynthesis and dark respiration rate were always lower in shade leaves than in sun leaves. Overall, there were only minor differences between the cultivars. Pecan trees require careful canopy management to avoid self shading and to maintain productivity. These results could help determine optimal levels of canopy light interception and could be used to develop canopy and crop management practices.

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Diana Carolina Núñez-López, Augusto Ramírez-Godoy and Hermann Restrepo-Díaz

The bean crop is of great importance for human consumption as a source of protein. One of the most limiting insect pests of this crop in Colombia is the whitefly, Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Westwood). Currently, various nonchemical pest control alternatives for cleaner production are being sought. This study aimed to determine the influence of kaolin on the development of populations of whitefly in greenhouses, and its effect on the physiological characteristics of the bean crop [Phaseolus vulgaris (L.)]. This work was conducted in the greenhouses of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, in Bogotá. Three experiments were carried out and four treatments were evaluated: 1) control (without any insecticide), 2) synthetic chemical insecticides, and foliar applications of kaolin at 3) 2.5%, and 4) 5% (W/V). Generally, the results showed a high percentage of efficacy (≈91%) on whitefly control in plants treated with 5% kaolin, compared with the plants not treated with insecticides in the three different experiments. In addition, foliar applications of kaolin decreased transpiration by 40% and enhanced by 43% the contents of leaf chlorophyll without affecting bean yield. In conclusion, the use of kaolin particle can be considered as an alternative tool in a program of agricultural management on the bean crop since it can control a high percentage of whitefly and it may help the plant physiology, especially under conditions of abiotic stress such as drought stress.

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Augusto Ramírez-Godoy, María del Pilar Vera-Hoyos, Natalia Jiménez-Beltrán and Hermann Restrepo-Díaz

Asian citrus psyllid [ACP (Diaphorina citri)] is one of the most serious threats to the global citrus (Citrus sp.) culture, and management of ACP has depended primarily on the application of chemical insecticides. The expression of resistance mechanisms to herbivory is a key component in integrated pest management in crop production in which silicon (Si) applications can play an important role in plant–insect relationships. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the application of Si to tahiti lime (Citrus latifolia) plants under natural infestations of ACP. Two experiments were conducted using 15-month-old seedlings and 2-year-old trees, respectively. Treatments were 1) foliar Si sprays (potassium silicate) at a dose of 2 mL·L–1, 2) soil Si application at a dose of 1 kg commercial product per plant, 3) combined soil and foliar applications of Si at the doses just listed, and 4) untreated plants (control). The application of Si treatments to both seedlings and trees affected ACP oviposition, causing a reduction of 60%. Applications of Si did not affect the nutritional status (macronutrients and micronutrients) of plants in either test, except that the foliar concentration of Si tended to be greater in the soil and soil + foliar treatments than in the other treatment in both seedlings and trees. Based on these results, we suggest that Si can be added as a component of ACP integrated pest management programs.

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Augusto Ramírez-Godoy, María del Pilar Vera-Hoyos, Natalia Jiménez-Beltrán and Hermann Restrepo-Diaz

The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, is the most serious threat to the global citrus industry, and its management has depended mainly on the application of chemical insecticides. The application of plant elicitors can contribute to the insect management and also enhance plant physiology. A set of three different experiments was carried out to evaluate the efficacy of foliar applications of synthetic elicitors [salicylic acid (SA), brassinosteroids (Br), chitosan, or thiamine] on the population dynamics of D. citri and their effects on the physiology of Tahiti lime trees. The treatments were as follows: trees were sprayed separately with thiamine, SA, or chitosan at a dose of 100 ppm, respectively; trees were treated with foliar brassinosteroid applications at a dose of 1 ppm; and untreated trees (control). By the end of the experiment, the elicitors reduced (75%) the number of adult psyllids compared with the control, where trees treated with chitosan had ≈0.5 adult individuals accumulated per flush shoot, whereas the control showed around two individuals. Salicylic acid and thiamine also reduced the number of nymphs compared with the control in the 4 weeks after treatment (WAT) (5.5 vs. 10.08 nymphs, respectively). Treatment with synthetic elicitors also caused a 30% reduction in oviposition by D. citri. The foliar applications with Br promoted a greater relative growth rate (RGR) (44 mm·cm−1·d−1) compared with the control treatment and chitosan (24 and 26 mm·cm−1·d−1, respectively). Chitosan sprays favored proline synthesis in both flush shoots and leaves. These results suggest that the use of synthetic elicitors can be considered as a tool to reduce the number of applications of chemical insecticides and decrease the development of resistances by D. citri because these synthetic elicitors showed an efficacy between 40% and 60% in all its stages in field conditions.

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Augusto Ramírez-Godoy, María del Pilar Vera-Hoyos, Natalia Jiménez-Beltrán and Hermann Restrepo-Díaz

Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, is the most serious threat to the global citrus industry, and its management has mainly depended on the application of chemical insecticides. The use of biopesticides can play an important role in regulating this pest. In a first test, two separate experiments were conducted in two different municipalities (Apulo and Jerusalen, Cundinamarca, Colombia) to evaluate the effect of foliar Beauveria bassiana and imidacloprid sprays on ACP populations in 2015 and 2016, respectively. In a second test, two separate tests were carried out in commercial Tahiti lime orchards to evaluate the efficacy of three different commercial biopesticides (Beauveria bassiana and extracts of Sophora sp. and garlic-chili pepper). In test 1, imidacloprid-treated trees showed a reduction (60% and 80%) in cumulative ACP adults in 2016. ACP cumulative nymphs were also diminished by foliar imidacloprid and B. bassiana application, between 40% and 65% in 2015 and 2016, respectively. ACP cumulative eggs showed lower individuals in imidacloprid-treated flushes at 3 and 4 weeks after treatment 9 (WAT) in 2016. In test 2, the results obtained showed ACP adults and eggs unaffected by biopesticide treatments; nymphs were reduced 50% to 75% in trees treated with the three biopesticides in comparison with control trees. All three biopesticides tested can be considered useful tools in integrated pest management (IPM) programs for ACP, since these products reduced immature ACP individuals between 50% and 75% under field conditions.

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Alexandra García-Castro, Astrid Volder, Hermann Restrepo-Diaz, Terri W. Starman and Leonardo Lombardini

A greenhouse experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of water stress on leaf water potential, plant growth, and photosynthesis in purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata). Twenty 4-L pots with two plants in each pot were arranged in a completely randomized design. Ten pots received a daily irrigation dose of 100% evapotranspiration (ET) throughout the 43-day experiment (control). The other 10 pots were subjected to a reduced irrigation (RI) treatment, which was implemented stepwise to achieve a gradual increase in stress, by irrigating them with 50% ET first, then with 25% ET and, finally, with 10% ET. The last stress phase was followed by a recovery phase in which all treatments received the same amount of water (100% ET). A lower water potential was obtained at 10% ET compared with control plants (−2.51 and −0.98 MPa, respectively). Plants in both 25% and 10% ET irrigation treatments had reduced net CO2 assimilation rates (4.25 and 3.50 μmol·m−2·s−1, respectively) than plants watered with 100% ET (8.53 and 6.77 μmol·m−2·s−1, respectively). Values of maximum carboxylation rate allowed by rubisco (ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase), calculated 31 days after treatment (DAT) application (when RI plants were irrigated with 10% ET) decreased by ≈60%, whereas rate of photosynthetic electron transport and triose phosphate use (TPU) were reduced by ≈30% and ≈45% in the stress treatment compared with the control during the 10% ET irrigation period, respectively. Values of water potential and net CO2 assimilation rates in previously stressed plants were not different from the control treatment in the recovery phase, suggesting that P. incarnata plants could adapt well to landscaping situations where periods of extreme drought can be expected.