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Feeding behavior of whiteflies associated to the transmission of Torradoviruses

Alberto Fereres: CSIC

<div>Torradoviruses have been reported as the cause of important yield losses on tomato. Although several studies have been performed, the specific mechanism underlying Torradoviruses transmission by whiteflies remains unknown. The objective of this work was to study the feeding behavior of <em>Bemisia tabaci</em> associated to the acquisition and inoculation process of <em>Tomato torrado virus</em> (ToTV). The feeding behavior of single whiteflies was monitored using Electrical Penetration Graphs (EPG) on tomato test plants during the transmission of ToTV. Insects were removed from test plants when the following behavioral events were recorded: extracellular stylet pathway (C), intracellular stylet punctures (potential drops: ‘pd’), a single episode of salivation on phloem sieve elements (E1), the interphase between salivation and ingestion (E1/E2), and phloem sap ingestion (E2). For acquisition experiments, non-viruliferous whiteflies were monitored on infected ToTV tomatoes and then transferred to healthy test plants for 48 h. Similarly, to study the viral inoculation process, viruliferous whiteflies were removed from healthy tomato test plants after specific EPG signals were recorded. Then, whiteflies were transferred to a second healthy tomato test plant for 48 h to assess its initial viruliferous status. ToTV transmission to test plants was assessed by RT-PCR. The results of the feeding behavior activities of <em>B. tabaci</em> associated to the transmission of ToTV will be reported.</div>