Two commercial cultivars of tomato, Alta and Peto 95, the accession line number LA716 of Lycopersicon pennellii and lines 94GH-006 and 94GH-033 (backcrosses between Peto 95 and LA716), with different leaf acyl sugar contents were screened for resistance to Bemisia argentifolii Bellows & Perring (corresponding to the Spanish B-biotype of Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius)), in greenhouse- and field-no-choice experiments. There was no oviposition on LA716 (with the highest acyl sugar content) while the greatest fecundity and fertility values were observed on the cultivar Alta (no acyl sugar content). However, no clear relationship was found between the low acyl sugar content in the other tomato cultivars tested and whitefly reproduction. Thus, resistance to B. tabaci did not appear to correlate with acyl sugar content below a threshold level of 37.8 microg cm-2 leaf. In a greenhouse choice-assay, B. tabaci exhibited reduced host preference and reproduction on the commercial tomato cultivars Motelle, VFN8 and Ronita all of which carry the Mi gene resistance to Meloidogyne nematodes and the aphid Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Thomas), than on the Mi-lacking cultivars Moneymaker, Rio Fuego and Roma. When data of Mi-bearing plants were pooled, the mean values for daily infestation and pupal production of B. tabaci were significantly lower than those of Mi-lacking plants. This reflected a level of antixenosis- and antibiosis-based resistance in commercial tomato and indicated that Mi, or another closely linked gene, might be implicated in a partial resistance which was not associated either with the presence of glandular trichomes or their exudates. These findings support the general hypothesis for the existence of similarities among the resistance mechanisms to whiteflies, aphids and nematodes in commercial tomato plants.
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