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Management of Potato Insect Pests by Plant Resistance and Other Strategies


<OL> <LI> To continue identification and selection of potato clones segregating for glandular trichomes and other insect-defensive traits to the Colorado potato beetle, potato tuber moth, potato leafhopper and other pests using replicated no-choice experimental designs. <LI>To continue analysis of the practical benefits of insect resistance in protecting against yield and marketability losses using replicated "real-time" yield trials in the presence and absence of pest populations. <LI>To determine the role of glandular trichomes and other defensive traits (and their gene products) in tuber resistance to the potato tuber moth. <LI> To continue evaluation of externally-applied insecticides for their proper role and fit in both traditional as well as organic potato production.

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Non-Technical Summary: Current insect management practices often rely heavily on external inputs such as pesticides. Sole reliance on pesticides usually leads to management failures because of genetic selection for insecticide-resistant pests. Pesticides are also often associated with unwanted environmental impacts such as ground water contamination, loss of natural enemies and pollinators and illness among field workers and applicators. The development of insect-resistant crop varieties will reduce grower dependence on pesticides. Major beneficiaries include conventional and organic potato producers in both developed and in resource-poor countries because potato production will require fewer inputs of pesticides for insect management. The personal health of farmers and applicators will benefit from lessened exposure to pesticides. The development of insecticide resistant pests will be reduced, allowing resurgence of biological control by natural enemies, further reducing the need for pesticide input. Consumers will benefit from reduced pesticide residues on produce. The negative environmental impacts of pesticides on groundwater and soil health will be reduced. <P> Approach: Assays will be used to confirm resistance in foliage, sprouted and unsprouted tubers as measured by larval survival and leaf/tuber feeding damage. We will generate data necessary for the construction of stage-specific life tables and will gather data for construction of "activity budgets" on resistant and susceptible germplasm. We will continue replicated split plot (infested, uninfested) trials of advanced clones and unreplicated field evaluation of families produced by parents with field-confirmed resistance. As advanced germplasm with desirable resistance and horticultural properties becomes available, germplasm will be made available to potato growers in NY and to potato specialists interested in evaluating these materials in their respective production regions.

Tingey, Ward
Cornell University
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