Silverleaf whitefly stress impairs sugar export from cotton source leaves

Tong Bao Lin, Shmuel Wolf, Amnon Schwartz, Yehoshua Saranga*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Silverleaf whitefly (SLW), Bemisia argentifolii Bellows and Perring, is one of the most noxious pests of numerous field and vegetable crops, causing billions of dollars worth of damage throughout the world. SLW is a phloem feeder whose feeding is likely to interfere with phloem transport. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that SLW infestation impairs carbohydrate export from source leaves, and consequently increases their carbohydrate content. The youngest fully expanded leaves of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L., cv. Siv'on), grown under SLW-infested and noninfested conditions, were characterized for their diurnal changes in carbohydrate content and photoassimilate export. SLW infestation induced a considerable reduction in net photosynthetic rate (P(n)), coupled with increased sucrose, glucose and fructose and decreased starch concentrations. Export rate was determined after 14CO2 pulse-labeling both by in situ monitoring of leaf radioactivity and by analyzing the content and radioactivity of the major carbon metabolites. Radioactive counting indicated a lower rate of 14C efflux for the infested plants. A similar trend was found for the specific activities of sucrose and the three soluble sugars combined (sucrose, glucose and fructose). A single exponential decay function with asymptote was fitted to the above efflux curves. All the calculated exponential coefficients demonstrated lower export rates after SLW injury. These results indicate that SLW impairs photoassimilate export, suggesting possible down-regulation of P(n) due to increased foliar soluble sugar contents.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)291-297
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2000


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