Soybean virus may give plant-chewing bugs a helping hand

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“Soybean virus may give plant-chewing bugs a helping hand”

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Most viral infections negatively affect an organism’s health, but one plant virus in particular – soybean vein necrosis virus, often referred to as SVNV – may actually benefit a type of insect that normally feeds on soybean plants and can transmit the virus to plant, causing disease, according to Penn State research.

In a lab study, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences researchers found that when soybean thrips — small insects that range from 0.03 to 0.20 inches long — were infected with SVNV, they tended to survive longer and reproduce better than uninfected thrips.

Asifa Hamid, who led the study while completing her Ph.D. in entomology at Penn State and is now a senior entomologist at the Ayub Institute of Agricultural Research in Multan, Pakistan, said the findings give insight into how the virus spreads in plants and what effect it has. insect hosts.

“In addition to extending the life of insects, SVNV infection also shortened the doubling time of soybean thrips assemblies,” Hamid said. This means that numbers of infected thrips grew more quickly, which could further spread the virus to additional soybean plants.

According to researchers, who recently published the findings in the magazine insectsSoybean venous necrosis is a disease of soybean plants caused by SVNV. It can be spread either by infected seeds or infected soybean thrips. Thrips infect the virus in the form of larvae by feeding on infected leaves and then can transmit the virus to additional plants through their saliva, especially during adulthood.

Once the plant is infected with the virus, the pathogen first attacks the leaf veins, causing them to turn yellow. This yellowing can then spread to other parts of the leaves, which may eventually develop into brown lesions. If the disease progresses long enough, the leaves turn necrotic and fall off. SVNV can also reduce the amount of oil and proteins in seeds and can lower seed germination rate and seed weight.

Christina RoseAssociate Professor of Plant Virology at Faculty of Agricultural SciencesBecause the virus was discovered in 2008 and is therefore relatively new, little is known about how the disease is predicted or managed.

Since there are no cures for plants infected with viruses, virus vectors must be controlled [thrips] It is one of the best options for managing viral diseases. “Knowledge of the identity, biology, transmission tendencies, and changes in the behavior and physiology of thrips transmitting soybean vein necrosis virus is fundamental to designing soybean vein disease prevention programs and to calculating the economic threshold for any intervention.”

To begin the study, researchers collected soybean thrips from soybean fields at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center in Pennsylvania before releasing them onto soybean plants in the researchers’ lab. Thrips and cotyledons were monitored regularly for SVNV infection using real-time polymerase chain reaction, or PCR assay.

The researchers then monitored thrips over two generations, noting variables such as age, mortality, fertility, and reproduction.

After analyzing the data, the researchers found that prematurity as well as overall immature life and adult life were shorter in the case of uninfected thrips. In general, infected thrips tend to survive longer.

“We also found that infected thrips tend to produce more offspring,” Hamid said. “On average, uninfected females produced an average of 84 eggs while those infected with SVNV produced an average of 89 eggs.”

The researchers also calculated the population doubling time, which is the amount of time it takes a population to double in size. Among uninfected thrips, the doubling time was about four days. In the SVNV-infected population, the doubling time was only half a day.

While more research is needed to better understand the interaction between soybean thrips and SVNV, the researchers note that one possible explanation for why SVNV causes increased thrips survival may be an increase in amino acids in virus-infected plants, which may contain benefit from insects.

Reference: Hamid A, Rosa C, Ragot Egypt. Effect of soybean vein necrosis virus (SVNV) species on life-table parameters of its vector, soybean thrips (NeoHedatotrip Variables Thysanoptera: Thripidae). insects. 2022; 13 (7): 632. doi: 10.3390 / insects 13070632

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