Publications by authors named "Abigail J Walter"

4 Publications

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New excised-leaf assay method to test inoculativity of Asian citrus psyllid (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) with Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus associated with citrus huanglongbing disease.

J Econ Entomol 2013 Feb;106(1):25-35

USDA-ARS, U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, Fort Pierce, FL 34945, USA.

The Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), is the primary vector of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (Las) associated with huanglongbing, or citrus greening, the most devastating citrus (Citrus spp.) disease worldwide. Here, we developed a new "excised-leaf assay" that can speed up Las-inoculativity tests on Asian citrus psyllid from the current 3-12 mo (when using whole citrus seedlings for inoculation) to only 2-3 wk. Young adults of Asian citrus psyllid that had been reared on Las-infected plants were caged on excised healthy sweet orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck] leaves for a 1-2-wk inoculation access periods (IAP), and then both psyllids and leaves were tested later by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). When single adults were tested per leaf, percentages of Las-positive leaves averaged 2-6% by using HLBaspr primers and 10-20% by using the more sensitive LJ900 primers. Higher proportions of Las-positive leaves were obtained with 1) higher densities of inoculating psyllids (5-10 adults per leaf), 2) longer IAPs, and 3) incubation of leaves for 1 wk postinoculation before PCR. Logistic regression analysis indicated a positive correlation between Las titer in Asian citrus psyllid adults tested singly and the probability of detecting Las in the inoculated leaves, correlations that can be very useful in epidemiological studies. Comparison between excised leaves and whole seedlings, inoculated consecutively for 1 wk each by one or a group of psyllids, indicated no significant difference between Las detection in excised leaves or whole plants. This new excised-leaf assay method saves considerable time, materials, and greenhouse space, and it may enhance vector relation and epidemiological studies on Las and potentially other Liberibacter spp. associated with huanglongbing disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/ec12245DOI Listing
February 2013

Low Incidence of 'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus' in Murraya paniculata and Associated Diaphorina citri.

Plant Dis 2012 Jun;96(6):827-832

Subtropical Plant Pathology Research Unit, United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, Fort Pierce, FL 34945.

Huanglongbing (HLB) is one of the most devastating diseases of citrus worldwide. 'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus' is the prevalent species of three HLB-associated Liberibacter spp., which is vectored by the psyllid Diaphorina citri. The vector and the bacteria have host plants outside the genus Citrus, and these plants have the potential to affect disease epidemiology within citrus groves. Murraya paniculata could be especially problematic because it is a popular ornamental plant and a host of both psyllid and bacteria. We conducted a year-long survey of eight urban plantings of M. paniculata in east-central Florida to characterize 'Ca. L. asiaticus' infection rates in plants and associated psyllids. Using sensitive quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) primers targeting two prophage genes of 'Ca. L. asiaticus', we found infection to be extremely low: less than 1% of psyllids and 1.8% of plants. With qPCR primers targeting 'Ca. L. asiaticus' 16S rDNA, none of the plants and only one psyllid were 'Ca. L. asiaticus'-positive. Therefore, the titer of 'Ca. L. asiaticus' is low in M. paniculata and associated psyllids. These results suggest that urban plantings of M. paniculata may serve as a minor source of 'Ca. L. asiaticus' inoculum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-08-11-0668DOI Listing
June 2012

Boring in response to bark and phloem extracts from North American trees does not explain host acceptance behavior of Orthotomicus erosus (Coleoptera: Scolytidae).

Environ Entomol 2010 Apr;39(2):661-9

Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota, 219 Hodson Hall, 1980 Folwell Ave, St Paul, MN 55108, USA.

When invasive herbivorous insects encounter novel plant species, they must determine whether the novel plants are hosts. The Mediterranean pine engraver, Orthotomicus erosus (Wollaston), an exotic bark beetle poised to expand its range in North America, accepts hosts after contacting the bark. To test the hypothesis that O. erosus accepts hosts on the basis of gustatory cues, we prepared bark and phloem extracts from logs of four North American tree species that we had used in previous host acceptance experiments. Water, methanol, and hexane extracts of red pine, tamarack, balsam fir, and paper birch were presented alone and in combination on a neutral filter paper substrate in a section of a plastic drinking straw. Boring behavior in response to the three-extract combinations differed from the pattern of acceptance previously observed among species when the beetles were in contact with the bark surface. Only the aqueous extracts of tamarack, Larix laricina, increased the initiation and the extent of boring by O. erosus on the filter paper substrate. We conclude that the effects of extracted chemicals do not match the behavior of the beetles observed when penetrating excised bark and phloem discs, indicating that host selection by O. erosus may not be predictable from bark and phloem chemistry alone. Instead, host acceptance may be determined by nongustatory stimuli or by a combination of stimuli including gustatory and nongustatory cues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EN09320DOI Listing
April 2010

Soil potassium deficiency affects soybean phloem nitrogen and soybean aphid populations.

Environ Entomol 2007 Feb;36(1):26-33

Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, 243 Natural Science, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.

The soybean aphid is an invasive pest in the midwest United States, with frequent population outbreaks. Previous work has shown that aphid population densities are higher on potassium-deficient soybean than on healthy soybean. The experiments reported here test the hypotheses that the potassium nutrition of the host plant affects the forms of phloem nitrogen available to soybean aphids, and subsequently, their abundance. In field surveys and an exclusion cage study when aphid populations were high, soybean plants with potassium deficiency symptoms had a higher density of soybean aphids than plants without deficiency symptoms. In clip cage experiments, this effect was caused by earlier aphid reproduction and higher numbers of aphid nymphs per mother on plants growing in lower-potassium soil. In phloem exudation samples, the percentage of asparagine, an important amino acid for aphid nutrition, increased with decreasing soil potassium, perhaps because of potassium's role in the nitrogen use of the plant. Taken together, these results show that soybean potassium deficiency can lead to higher populations of soybean aphid through a bottom-up effect. A possible mechanism for this relationship is that soybean potassium deficiency improves the nitrogen nutrition of these N-limited insects. By releasing these herbivores from N limitation, host plant potassium deficiency may allow soybean aphid populations to reach higher levels more rapidly in the field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0046-225X(2007)36[26:SPDASP]2.0.CO;2DOI Listing
February 2007