Preinfestations of tomato plants by whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci) or aphids (Macrosiphum euphorbiae) induce variable resistance or susceptibility responses

G Nombela, E Garzo, M Duque, M Muñiz
Bulletin of Entomological Research 2009, 99 (2): 183-91
In addition to constitutive plant resistance against pests or pathogens, plants can activate protective mechanisms upon contact with an invader or a chemical elicitor. Studies on induced plant resistance to herbivores, especially piercing-sucking insects, are less abundant than those devoted to pathogens. Several experiments under controlled conditions have been conducted to demonstrate that infestations by Macrosiphum euphorbiae induce plant resistance to Bemisia tabaci in susceptible tomato plants. After three days of exposure to 20 apterous adult aphids, the plants acquired a transiently induced resistance to B. tabaci when aphid removal occurred one or 18 hours prior to B. tabaci infestation; the effect disappeared when four days passed between aphid and whitefly infestations. The resistance observed was both locally and systemically induced. Other assays were performed to evaluate the effect of preinfestation with ten adults of B. tabaci during 48 h on the tomato responses to two different clones (Sp and Nt) of M. euphorbiae. The numbers of nymph and adult aphids were counted after the same time interval as the pre-reproductive period and 20 (Sp clone) or 22 (Nt clone) days after adult aphid removal. The tomato responses induced by whitefly feeding depend on the aphid clone. For the Sp clone, the number of aphid nymphs ten days after adult removal was significantly higher on whitefly preinfested plants than on uninfested plants. However, no significant differences were observed when the aphid clone Nt was tested. The duration of plant response to a previous infestation by B. tabaci is apparently limited.

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