Inoculation of susceptible and resistant potato plants with the late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans: effects on an aphid and its parasitoid

Jenny Lazebnik, Marianne Tibboel, Marcel Dicke*, Joop J.A. van Loon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Plants are exposed to microbial pathogens as well as herbivorous insects and their natural enemies. Here, we examined the effects of inoculation of potato plants, Solanum tuberosum L. (Solanaceae), with the late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans (Mont.) de Bary (Peronosporales: Pythiaceae) on an aphid species commonly infesting potato crops and one of the aphid's major parasitoids. We observed the peach-potato aphid, Myzus persicae Sulzer (Hemiptera: Aphididae), and its natural enemy, the biocontrol agent Aphidius colemani Viereck (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), on potato either inoculated with water or P. infestans. Population growth of the aphid, parasitism rate of its natural enemy, and other insect life-history traits were compared on several potato genotypes, the susceptible cultivar Désirée and genetically modified (GM) isogenic lines carrying genes conferring resistance to P. infestans. Effects of P. infestans inoculation on the intrinsic rate of aphid population increase and the performance of the parasitoid were only found on the susceptible cultivar. Insect traits were similar when comparing inoculated with non-inoculated resistant GM genotypes. We also tested how GM-plant characteristics such as location of gene insertion and number of R genes could influence non-target insects by comparing insect performance among GM events. Different transformation events leading to different positions of R-gene insertion in the genome influenced aphids either with or without P. infestans infection, whereas effects of position of R-gene insertion on the parasitoid A. colemani were evident only in the presence of inoculation with P. infestans. We conclude that it is important to study different transformation events before continuing with further stages of risk assessment of this GM crop. This provides important information on the effects of plant resistance to a phytopathogen on non-target insects at various trophic levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-314
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Aphididae
  • Aphidius colemani
  • Braconidae
  • genetic modification
  • Hemiptera
  • Hymenoptera
  • Myzus persicae
  • non-target effects
  • plant-pathogen-insect interactions
  • plant–insect interactions
  • Solanum tuberosum
  • trophic interactions


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