Inoculation of Tomato With Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria Affects the Tomato—Potato Psyllid—<i>Candidatus</i> Liberibacter Solanacearum Interactions

de Leon et al. (2023). Journal of Economic Entomology
“Liberibacter solanacearum” Liberibacter
Ecology General Medicine Insect Science
Abstract The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) in southern Texas is well-suited for vegetable production due to its relatively mild/warm weather conditions in the fall and winter. Consequently, insects inflict year-round, persistent damage to crops in the RGV and regions with similar climate. Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc) (Hemiptera: Triozidae), commonly known as the potato psyllid, is a known vector of Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) (Hyphomicrobiales: Rhizobiaceae), a fastidious phloem-limited bacterium associated to vein-greening in tomatoes and Zebra Chip in potatoes. Vector control is the primary approach of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies that aim to prevent plant diseases in commercial agricultural systems. However, resistance-selective pressures that decrease the effectiveness of chemical control (insecticide) applications over time are of increasing concern. Therefore, we explore an ecological approach to devising alternative IPM methodologies to manage the psyllid-transmitted CLso pathogen to supplement existing chemical products and application schedules without increasing resistance. In this study, our objective was to examine the effects of plant-growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) on host-vector-pathogen interactions. Soil-drench applications of PGPRs to Solanum lycopersicum (Solanales: Solanaceae) seedlings revealed structural and possible physiological changes to the plant host and indirect changes on psyllid behavior: host plants had increased length and biomass of roots and exhibited delayed colonization by CLso, while psyllids displayed changes in parental (F0) psyllid behavior (orientation and oviposition) in response to treated hosts and in the sex ratio of their progeny (F1). Based on our results, we suggest that PGPR may have practical use in commercial tomato production.
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