Location, location, location: Feeding site affects aphid performance by altering access and quality of nutrients

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From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 16, Issue 2)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 7,969 words
Lexile Measure: 1460L

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Abstract :

Aphid feeding behavior and performance on a given host plant are influenced by the plants' physical and chemical traits, including structural characters such as trichomes and nutritional composition. In this study, we determined the feeding behavior and performance of soybean aphids (Aphis glycines) on the stem, the adaxial (upper), and the abaxial (lower) leaf surfaces during early vegetative growth of soybean plants. Using the electrical penetration graph technique, we found that aphids feeding on the stem took the longest time to begin probing. Once aphids began probing, the sieve elements were more conducive to feeding, as evidenced by less salivation on the stem than either leaf surface. In whole-plant assays, stems harbored higher aphid populations, and aphids had shorter development time on stems than the adaxial and the abaxial leaf surfaces. We compared trichome density and length on the stem, the adaxial, and the abaxial leaf surfaces to investigate whether plant trichomes affected aphid feeding and performance. There were higher density and longer trichomes on stems, which likely resulted in aphids taking a longer time to probe. Still a negative impact on aphid population growth was not observed. Analysis of phloem sap composition revealed that vascular sap-enriched exudates from stems had higher sugars and amino acids than exudates from leaves. In artificial diet feeding assays, the population of aphids reared on a diet supplemented with stem exudates was higher than on a diet supplemented with leaf petiole exudates which is in agreement with results of the whole-plant assays. In summary, our findings suggest that the performance of soybean aphids on a specific plant location is primarily driven by accessibility and the quality of phloem composition rather than structural traits.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A650730810