Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wheat can't stop Hessian flies, so scientists find reinforcements

13.12.2011
Wheat's genetic resistance to Hessian flies has been failing, but a group of Purdue University and U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists believe that other plants may soon be able to come to the rescue.

The Purdue and USDA research team developed a method to test toxins from other plants on Hessian fly larvae. The test simulates the effect of a transgenic plant without the lengthy and costly procedures necessary to actually create those plants.

"For years, people have tried to develop a bioassay, but that hadn't happened until now," said Richard Shukle, a research scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service Crop Production and Pest Control Research Unit working in Purdue Entomology, whose findings were published in the Journal of Insect Physiology.

Shukle said the 33 genes known to give wheat resistance to Hessian fly attacks have been failing, causing scientists to develop methods to stack those genes together as a defense. But another solution could include adding other plants' toxins to wheat to bolster its defenses.

The problem has been with the unique way in which Hessian fly larvae attack and feed off wheat. The larvae secrete a substance onto the plants that creates a sort of wound on the plant tissue, opening it up for the larvae to feed on.

Toxins can be tested on other pests by adding those toxins to a plant-based artificial diet and feeding them to the insects. But Hessian fly larvae won't take the bait, meaning that until now the only way to test poisons from other plants was to create lines of transgenic wheat and feed them to the flies.

"This feeding assay is significant. This gives us a way to test these toxins," said Christie Williams, a co-author of the findings and a research scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service Crop Production and Pest Control Research Unit working in Purdue Entomology. "A preliminary chemical assay might give us promising results. But then you could go to all the trouble of making a transgenic plant based on that chemical test and have it not work."

To get the toxins into the fly larvae, the scientists allowed Hessian flies to lay eggs on the leaves of seedling wheat plants. When the eggs hatched, the plants were taken from the soil, their roots cleaned and trimmed, and then replanted as hydroponics with the toxic proteins added to the plants' water.

"The plant is just acting like a big straw taking up the toxins," Williams said. "It's just like putting a carnation into a cup of colored water and watching the flower change colors."

When the fly larvae attacked and fed as usual, they were also ingesting the toxins that were taken up through the water.

"We knew they would feed on the plant," said Subhashree Subramanyam, a Purdue agronomy research associate. "So we used the plant as the translocation medium."

Protein immunoblot detection tests, which use antibodies to detect the presence of a particular protein, showed that the larvae had ingested the toxins added to the water.

The team tested nine lectins ¨l antinutrient proteins that disrupt digestive function. In particular, Hessian fly larvae responded to snowdrop lectin, which comes from snowdrop bulbs, a flowering plant.

Larvae that ingested the snowdrop lectin developed only half as fast as the control larvae. There was also evidence of disruption of the microvilli ¨l fingerlike extensions in the midgut that aid in nutrient uptake.

"It is possible that snowdrop lectin, by itself, could give wheat better resistance to the Hessian fly," Shukle said.

The scientists plan to have a transgenic version of the wheat developed for further testing. The USDA funded their work.

A publication-quality photo is available at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/2011/shukle-hessianlarvae.jpg

Abstract for the research in this release is available at: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2011/111212ShukleTransgenic.html

Brian Wallheimer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht How protein islands form
15.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>