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Augmentation of in-furrow applied insecticides with a superabsorbent polymer to improve management of spotted wilt of peanut

James Haynes: Clemson University

<div>Spotted wilt of peanut (<em>Arachis hypogaea </em>L.) is a common disease that causes severe economic losses in peanut producing regions around the world. The causal agent is <em>Tomato spotted wilt orthotospovirus </em>(TSWV), which is transmitted by species of thrips (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) with western flower thrips (<em>Frankliniella occidentalis</em>) and tobacco thrips (<em>F. fusca</em>) being of particular importance in the southeastern United States. Field trials were conducted in 2017 to determine if management of spotted wilt and subsequent productivity of peanut could be improved by applying a superabsorbent polymer (2.24 kg/ha) with standard in-furrow insecticides at the time of planting. To determine this, insecticides (phorate and imidacloprid) were individually applied with or without polymer across varieties susceptible (FloRun 157 or TUFRunner 511), moderately susceptible (Georgia 06G), and resistant (Sullivan and TifNV-High O/L) to TSWV. Untreated controls were included in all trails. The study utilized a randomized complete block design and was conducted in three locations across South Carolina and Georgia. Stunting of plants was significantly reduced (reduction of 8%, <em>P</em><0.05) when susceptible varieties were treated with phorate and the polymer. Polymer-associated effects on thrips counts and damage, phytotoxicity and yield were not significant (<em>P</em>>0.05) across locations. While additional experiments are needed, these results suggest that superabsorbent polymer could be used to mitigate the symptoms of spotted wilt on susceptible varieties.</div>