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  • Author or Editor: James E. Frelichowski x
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Sesquiterpene carboxylic acids (SCA) are synthesized by leaf trichomes of a wild tomato species Lycopersicon hirsutum accession LA 1777 and confer resistance to the tomato pests Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) and Spodoptera exigua (Hubner). Larvae of both species exhibited a reduction in survival and growth rate with altered feeding behavior when exposed to SCA in choice and no-choice insect bioassays. Larvae of both species were reared on artificial insect diets with SCA added at 0, 10 and 60 mg SCA per g of diet. All larvae perished in the 60 mg·g–1 treatment which is comparable to the levels of SCA found on LA 1777. H. zea and S. exigua showed about 35% and 60% reduction in survival to adult and 38% to 22% increase in life cycle duration, respectively, in the 10 mg·g–1 treatment relative to the control. Similar reductions in growth rate and survival were observed when larvae were reared on leaves coated with SCA. Choice bioassays with control (0 mg SCA/g leaf) and 60 mg SCA/g treated leaf tissue demonstrated 2.3-fold increase in larval avoidance and 50% reduction in feeding on treated leaves. Our results suggest that breeding for SCA synthesis in tomato would produce lines with increased resistance to the tomato pests H. zea and S. exigua. Backcross breeding procedures using LA 1777 have initiated the introgression of the SCA genes into cultivated tomato germplasm. Studies of inheritance of genes coding for SCA synthesis are underway to reveal allelic interactions and facilitate there introgression into the cultivated tomato germplasm.

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