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Suitability of the biomass crop Miscanthus sinensis as a host for the aphids Rhopalosiphum padi (L.) and Rhopalosiphum maidis (F.), and its susceptibility to the plant luteovirus Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus

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1 The reproductive performance of two aphid pest species, Rhopalosiphum padi and Rhopalosiphum maidis, was investigated on two seedling growth stages of Miscanthus sinensis, rhizomatous M. sinensis‘Giganteus’ and barley. Rhopalosiphum padi was unable to complete its development on Miscanthus. Rhopalosiphum maidis was most fecund on rhizomatous plants compared with seedling stages.

2 The ability of R. maidis to transmit the RPV isolate of Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) to M. sinensis seedlings was further investigated. Following successful transmission, host plant symptomology and the effect of infection on the yield of Miscanthus were investigated. Total above soil biomass was reduced by around 23% following infection.

3 The inability of R. padi to utilize Miscanthus is reviewed in light of this species’ origin and inability to utilize C4 host plants.

4 The potential pest status of R. maidis on Miscanthus is discussed together with the impact that Miscanthus cultivation could have on the ecology of this aphid species and BYDV in the U.K.
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Keywords: BYDV; Miscanthus sinensis; Rhopalosiphum maidis; Rhopalosiphum padi; host plant suitability

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Silwood Centre for Pest Management, Department of Biology, Imperial College at Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY, U.K. and 2: Central Science Laboratory, MAFF, Sand Hutton, York, YO4 1LZ, U.K.

Publication date: 01 May 1999

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