U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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Dowd, Patrick F; Sarath, Gautam; Mitchell, Robert B.; Saathoff, Aaron; Vogel, K.P. 2013. Insect Resistance of a Full Sib Family of Tetraploid Switchgrass with Varying Lignin Levels. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. 60:975-984. DOI: 10.1007/s10722-012-9893-8.


U.S. government work


Little information is available on insect resistance mechanisms and inheritance in biomass grasses. Although reduction of lignin in biomass grasses in order to increase the efficiency of fermentation may result in increased susceptibility to insect feeding, other resistance mechanisms may be more important. Field grown leaves of two tetraploid parent (Kanlow N1, Summer) and 14 progeny switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) plant clones selected for a diversity of plant form and ranges in lignin levels were tested for leaf resistance to feeding by the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda J. E. Smith), a grass feeding insect pest. Although lignin generally appeared important as a resistance mechanism only at early season stages, replicate clones of two low lignin progeny plants generally remained resistant to fall armyworm feeding. Mechanical damaging increased resistance to fall armyworm feeding in several of these plants. Degrees of resistance were sometimes associated with leaf form of progeny. These results indicate there are likely multiple insect resistance mechanisms operating at different stages in switchgrass, and that segregation of some mechanisms appears related to growth form of the plants.