UCARE: Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experiences


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Poster presentation. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Spring Research Fair, April 2020.


Copyright 2020 by the authors.


Aphids are phloem sap-feeding insects that negatively affects plant productivity. With short generation times, new aphid biotypes may arise either in response to pesticide use or through other factors. Additional biotypes can cause serious damage to plants compared to others. Whereas others can become highly resistant to methods of pest control. One possible solution to this problem is to focus on the plant itself, or host plant resistance. Plant tolerance is one of the plant resistance categories in which the plant is capable of functioning normally and remain relatively unharmed and stable in response to insect herbivory without harming the insect. In this study, we utilized the natural variation in a panel of sorghum inbred lines to elucidate novel sources of sorghum tolerance to sugar cane aphid (SCA), Melanaphis sacchari Zehntner. From the aphid bioassay and plant growth parameters data, we found SC35 the most tolerant line to SCA among the NAM founder lines. SC35 showed maximum number of aphids after 14 days of SCA infestation and significantly lower rate the reduction in height loss, plant biomass, and chlorophyll index. Further studies are needed to explore the genetic and biochemical mechanisms in sorghum that provide tolerance to aphid infestation. This information obtained from this study could be used to breed new lines of sorghum, which can tolerate aphid populations and in turn can assist in increasing sorghum yields.