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Ear damage of sweet corn inbreds and their hybrids under multiple corn borer infestation

Velasco, P., Revilla, P., Butron, A., Ordas, B., Ordas, A., Malvar, R.A.
Crop science 2002 v.42 no.3 pp. 724-729
Zea mays, Sesamia nonagrioides, inbred lines, corn ears, mechanical damage, general combining ability, specific combining ability, alleles, Spain
In Mediterranean countries, the principal corn (Zea mays L.) pest is the pink stem borer (PSB) (Sesamia nonagrioides Lef.), followed in importance by the European corn borer (ECB) [Ostrinia nubilalis (Hubner)]. Our objective was to quantify injury by these pests in a set of inbreds that showed different levels of ear damage by the PSB in a previous study and in their hybrids. A diallel among seven sweet corn inbreds that varied for ear damage by PSB was evaluated in three environments under PSB and ECB infestations. The importance of general combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) for ear damage by corn borer was determined. Inbred parents were also tested under manual infestation conditions with both borers. There was variability for ear damage traits among sweet corn inbred lines, but none of them were completely resistant. General combining ability effects were significant for the general appearance of the ear, ears with damaged grain, and ears with damaged shanks under PSB infestation. Under PSB infestation, SCA was not significant for any trait. Most traits showed significant GCA effects under ECB infestation, although SCA effects were also important for some damage traits. The inbred EP61 could supply some favorable alleles because it showed negative and significant GCA effects for ear damage under infestation by both species. Inbreds EP59 and V7726 showed negative and significant GCA effects for ear damage by ECB. These inbreds could be included in a sweet corn synthetic population that would be improved to decrease ear damage by corn borers.