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Determining the host‐plant resistance mechanisms for Mamestra brassicae (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) pest in cabbage

Cartea, M.E., Soengas, P., Sotelo, T., Abilleira, R., Velasco, P.
Annals of applied biology 2014 v.164 no.2 pp. 270-285
Brassica oleracea var. capitata, Mamestra brassicae, adults, antibiosis, antibiotic resistance, antixenosis, cabbage, crops, eggs, hybrids, larvae, larval development, leaves, mortality, ontogeny, oviposition, pest resistance, pests, pupae, pupation, rearing
Six cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) varieties with different levels of resistance to Mamestra brassicae (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) were investigated in order to assess whether antibiosis and antixenosis mechanisms are involved in the resistance to this pest or not. Four experiments were conducted to determine the effect of variety and plant ontogeny on larval behaviour, adult oviposition and leaf damages in non‐choice and choice tests. Larval survival, time to development and larval weights differed depending on the varieties and plant stages that we tested. At the pre‐head stage, larval mortality was higher, larvae died faster, time to pupation was shorter, pupae were lighter and the percentage of viable pupae and growth index (GI) values were lower than larvae reared from plants at the head stage. The commercial hybrid ‘Corazón de buey’ and the local variety named ‘BRS0535’ exhibited antibiosis to M. brassicae as they reduced its survival and growth and delayed its development time. In addition, these varieties were the most resistant after artificial infestation in terms of head foliage consumption and number of larvae per plant. Oviposition tests demonstrated that resistance found in ‘Corazón de buey’ and BRS0535 could be also based on antixenosis mechanisms as they resulted in fewer egg batches on plants, whereas BRS0402 could be classified as resistant because M. brassicae larvae showed less preference for it. Thus, resistance to M. brassicae found in cabbage crops may be due to the joint action of several factors involving antibiosis and antixenosis. We found significant differences in the resistance of BRS0535 depending on the plant ontogeny as it loses its resistance while developing. Further studies are required to identify the mechanism of antibiotic resistance which is present in this variety at the pre‐head stage and the changes that occur in plant defence as it grows.