DOI: 10.3390/agronomy14010084 ISSN: 2073-4395

Choice and No-Choice Feeding Assays of Cotton Fleahoppers (Pseudatomoscelis seriatus) on Cotton Expressing the Mpp51Aa2 Protein

Brady P. Arthur, Charles P.-C. Suh, Benjamin M. McKnight, Megha N. Parajulee, Fei Yang, David L. Kerns
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

In Texas, the cotton fleahopper (Pseudatomoscelis seriatus (Reuter)) is considered a highly economically damaging pest of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). Current control methods rely heavily on foliar chemical insecticides throughout the growing season. Considering the cost of insecticides and the critical timeliness of their application, chemical control methods are often not optimized to reduce potential yield losses. The Mpp51Aa2.834_16 gene in cotton (ThryvOn) has shown effectiveness against thrips and several piercing and sucking mirid insect pests, suggesting it has the potential to mitigate yield losses caused by the cotton fleahopper. Choice and no-choice caged feeding assays were conducted to assess the impact of cotton fleahoppers on ThryvOn cotton square retention under controlled laboratory conditions. In the choice assay, feeding by cotton fleahoppers significantly reduced square retention in the gene-lacking cotton to 46%, while the ThryvOn cotton retained 60% of the squares. In the no-choice assay, cotton fleahopper nymph feeding significantly reduced square retention in the cotton not expressing Mpp51Aa2 to 61%, whereas the ThryvOn cotton was unaffected. Based on the differences in square retention observed in both the choice and no-choice feeding assays, our findings indicate that the Mpp51Aa2 protein influences cotton fleahopper feeding preferences and the susceptibility of cotton plants to damage caused by cotton fleahoppers. Our study offers confirmation of the activity of ThryvOn on cotton fleahoppers observed in the field. The ThryvOn trait’s activity towards cotton fleahoppers is consistent with that found for other mirid pests in cotton.

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