Pathogen-induced changes in plant-insect interactions for crop and ornamental species in the genus Solanum

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Plant Sciences


Theme: Agriculture and Food Security

I will examine the effects of disease on plant-insect interactions using Solanum species present in UK gardens: tomato; potato; aubergine, and the ornamentals Solanum crispum, S. laxum, S. aviculare and others. The viral pathogens to be examined will be those most predominant identified by my survey of viruses affecting Solanum species in UK gardens undertaken in the summer of 2015. The samples are currently being analysed but these
Solanum-infecting viruses are likely to be isolates of Potato virus Y and CMV (aphid-transmitted), as well as tobamoviruses (Tobacco mosaic virus and Tomato mosaic virus) and Potato virus X (not aphid transmitted). I will examine the effects of the selected viruses on colonisation, feeding behaviour, survival and performance of larva of the chewing insect Manduca sexta and the aphids Myzus persicae (a non-specialist) and Macrosiphum euphorbiae
(Solanum specialist), both of which vector a variety of viruses. Bee responses to visual and olfactory cues emitted by healthy versus diseased plants will be investigated using free choice and conditioning assays. Insect responses will be correlated with changes in plant volatile emission (Using GC-MS) and in plant soluble factors e.g. in nectar using LC-MS.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011194/1 30/09/2015 29/09/2023
2500158 Studentship BB/M011194/1 30/09/2016 29/09/2020 Anna Platoni