The role of sinigrin in host plant recognition by aphids during initial plant penetration

B. Gabrys, W.F. Tjallingii

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60 Citations (Scopus)


Plant penetration behaviour (probing) of the cabbage aphid, Brevicoryne brassicae, and the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, was studied on excised leaves of broad beans, Vicia faba, kept in water or in a 1% aqueous solution of sinigrin. Using the DC EPG (Electrical Penetration Graph) technique it was shown that the cabbage aphid on sinigrin-untreated bean leaves showed numerous short probes into epidermis and mesophyll. None of these aphids showed either phloem salivation or ingestion waveforms on untreated leaves. In contrast, on sinigrin-treated bean leaves, 35% of the probing time was spent on phloem sap ingestion (E2) and almost all aphids reached phloem vessels and started feeding. The duration of phloem salivation before phloem ingestion and the mean duration of phloem ingestion periods were similar on a host and a sinigrin-treated non-host plant. However, the total probing time by B. brassicae was 10% longer, the total phloem sap ingestion time was twice as long, and the time to the first phloem phase within a probe was three times shorter on the host plant compared to sinigrin-treated broad beans. Acyrthosiphon pisum also responded to the addition of sinigrin to broad beans, but in this case sinigrin acted as a deterrent. On sinigrin-treated leaves, A. pisum terminated probes before ingestion from phloem vessels, and none of these aphids showed phloem salivation and ingestion on treated leaves. Glucosinolates were detected in the mesophyll cells of the brassicaceous plant, Sinapis alba. Based on this finding and in addition to the foregoing EPG analysis of aphid probing on these plants and broad beans, our hypothesis is that aphids may recognise their host plants as soon as they probe the mesophyll tissue and before they start ingestion from phloem vessels
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-93
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • aphidoidea
  • host plants
  • host preferences
  • sinigrin
  • glucosinolates
  • brevicoryne brassicae
  • acyrthosiphon pisum
  • fine-structure


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