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Can sulfur fertilisation improve the effectiveness of trap crops for diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae)?

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The effect of sulfur fertilisation on chemical constituents of yellow rocket, Barbarea vulgaris (R. Br.), was studied with regard to its potential use as a trap crop for the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae). Two types of B. vulgaris var. arcuata were used: the G‐type, resistant to P. xylostella and proposed as a ‘dead‐end’ trap crop, and the P‐type, not resistant to P. xylostella and used as a control.


In G‐type B. vulgaris, sulfur fertilisation increased the content of the dominant glucosinolate (S)‐2‐hydroxy‐2‐phenylethylglucosinolate by 20%. Sulfur fertilisation did not significantly change levels of the saponins 3‐0‐‐cellobiosylhederagenin and 3‐0‐‐cellobiosyloleanolic acid, known to act as feeding deterrents for P. xylostella larvae. In P‐type B. vulgaris, the same levels of sulfur fertilisation did not change the glucosinolate content significantly. Two‐choice oviposition preference tests with B. vulgaris plants showed that P. xylostella laid 144% and 45% more eggs on G‐ and P‐type plants with sulfur fertilisation respectively.


The studies suggest that sulfur fertilisation could increase the effectiveness of G‐type B. vulgaris as a trap crop for P. xylostella. The effect of plant sulfur fertilisation on P. xylostella oviposition preference is associated with a quantitative glucosinolate increase, but other compounds could also be involved. Copyright © 2010 Society of Chemical Industry
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Keywords: Barbarea vulgaris; feeding deterrent; glucosinolates; insect resistance; oviposition; saponin; sulfur; trap crop

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-08-01

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