Soil Fertility Management and Pest Responses: A Comparison of Organic and Synthetic Fertilization

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The objective of this study was to assess the effect of fertilization (organic or synthetic) and cabbage, Brassica oleracea L., cultivars (‘K-Y cross’ and ‘Summer Summit’) on the chemistry of cabbage and on the responses of a cabbage specialist Pieris rapae crucivora Boisduval. Cabbages were grown from seeds in the greenhouse with either organic, synthetic, or no fertilizer treatments. Trials of ovipositional preference and larval feeding were conducted to evaluate the effect of foliage quality on insect responses. In addition, the foliar chemistry (water, nitrogen, total nonstructural carbohydrates, sinigrin, and anthocyanin) was measured during the insect bioassays. The results indicated that butterflies preferred to lay eggs on foliage of fertilized plants. The larvae grew faster on plants fertilized with synthetic fertilizer, but there was no evidence that contents of sinigrin delayed the developmental time of the larvae. However, plants that received organic fertilizer had higher biomass. In summary, the results of this study suggested that proper organic treatment can increase a plant’s biomass production and may have a lower pest occurrence.

Keywords: Pieris rapae crucivora; foliar chemistry; organic fertilizer; pest response; synthetic fertilizer

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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