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Published in Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 105 (2002), pp. 43–53. Copyright © 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. http://www.springerlink.com/content/102876/ Used by permission.


The concentration of photosynthetic pigments (i.e., chlorophylls a and b, and carotenoids) and chlorophyll degradation enzyme (i.e., chlorophyllase, oxidative bleaching, and Mg-dechelatase) activities on aphid-damaged and non-damaged regions of the infested leaves were determined with two infestation periods (6 and 12 days). Russian wheat aphid [Diuraphis noxia (Mordvilko) (Hemiptera: Aphididae)] feeding caused significant losses of chlorophylls a and b and carotenoids in the damaged regions. However, bird cherry-oat aphid [Rhopalosiphum padi (L.) (Hemiptera: Aphididae)] feeding did not, except a significantly lower level of carotenoids was observed in the damaged regions from the short-infestation (6-day) samples. Interestingly, the non-damaged regions of D. noxia-infested leaves on both sampling dates had a significant increase of chlorophylls a and b and carotenoid concentrations when compared with the uninfested leaves. Although D. noxia feeding did not cause any changes in either chlorophyll a/b or chlorophyll (a + b)/carotenoid ratio between the damaged and non-damaged leaf regions on short-infestation (6-day) samples, a significantly lower chlorophyll a/b ratio was detected in long-infestation (12-day) samples. The assays of chlorophyllase and oxidative bleaching activities showed no significant differences between the damaged and non-damaged regions of the infested leaves on either sampling date. Mgdechelatase activity, however, was significantly higher in D. noxia-damaged than non-damaged leaf regions from the short-infestation samples, while no differences were detected from the long-infestation samples. Furthermore, the long-infestation samples showed that Mg-dechelatase activity from both D. noxia-damaged and non-damaged regions increased significantly in comparison with the respective regions of either uninfested or R. padi-infested leaves. We infer that non-damaged regions of D. noxia-infested leaves compensate for the pigment losses in the damaged regions, and that Mg-dechelatase activity changed dynamically from a localized response to a systemic response as infestation duration extends. The findings from this study on cereal aphid-elicited chlorosis (or desistance) would help us to elucidate plant resistance mechanisms, in particular plant tolerance to non-defoliating herbivory.

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