Study : Panicum virgatum Transcriptomic Responses to Aphid Pressure
Panicum virgatum Transcriptomic Responses to Aphid Pressure
Sustainable production of switchgrass and other bioenergy grasses will require effective pest management. Currently we know little about the potential insect pests of the tetraploid switchgrass genotypes that are being developed as bioenergy cultivars for the Central USA. Identification of potential insect pests and detailed characterization of the plant-insect interaction will better enable us to address emergent insect pests in switchgrass production fields. Additionally, it is unclear how manipulation of plants for improved quality (for example lower lignin) will affect plant resistance to insect herbivory. Therefore, the research goals of this 5 year project are to identify plants with enhanced resistance to piercing-sucking insects using defined populations of switchgrass, improve our understanding of the mechanisms, genes, proteins and metabolites contributing to the resistance, and develop sustainable pest management strategies through endogenous plant resistance. This project will significantly contribute to the sustainability and profitability of bioenergy grasses in three primary ways: (1) identification of switchgrass genotypes with resistance to the yellow sugarcane aphid, chinch bug, and greenbug; (2) assemble a functional data set encompassing plant and insect interactions for the study of plant resistance mechanisms in warm-season bioenergy grasses; and (3) provide the foundation for development of sustainable pest management strategies that offer improved environmental safety and minimal human health risk.