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POSTERS: Pathogen-vector/insect interactions

Influence of flow dynamics on transmission of Xylella fastidiosa
Daniel White - University of California, Riverside. Ian Marcus- Drexel University, Sharon Walker- Drexel University, Mary Caroline Roper- University of California, Riverside

Xylella fastidiosa is an important bacterial plant pathogen, causing expensive crop losses each year. The disease is transmitted from one plant to another by insect vectors, including the blue-green sharpshooter (BGSS). X. fastidiosa forms biofilms in the foregut of insects. These biofilms experience harsh flow environments due to the high flowrates associated with sharpshooter xylem feeding, which have yet to be quantified. During this study, a novel estimate for liquid flowrates in the foregut of the BGSS was simulated using published electrical penetration graphs along with a newly created 3D model of the BGSS foregut. The 3D model was used in COMSOL Multiphysics® simulations to compute fluid velocity profiles in the foregut. MATLAB® was used to probe the 3D solutions for velocities relevant to the forces that biofilms experience. These results, coupled with published bacterial detachment force data, enabled us to generate a testable model for insect acquisition and transmission of X. fastidiosa.