Brutally: Tobacco whitefly is every greenhouse grower’s nightmare – science

The louse uses genetic techniques to protect itself.

The tobacco whitefly is not a fly, but a louse related to aphids. It is originally a subtropical species, native to India and Pakistan. Like many other life forms, it has benefited from globalization. She’s been traveling the world for decades, especially with ornamental flowers and leafy vegetables being transported great distances between growers and buyers – which is very unsustainable. During the 1980s, it also ended up in Belgium and the Netherlands.

The tobacco whitefly is not a fly, but a louse related to aphids. It is originally a subtropical species, native to India and Pakistan. Like many other life forms, it has benefited from globalization. She’s been traveling the world for decades, especially with ornamental flowers and leafy vegetables being transported great distances between growers and buyers – which is very unsustainable. During the 1980s, it also ended up in Belgium and the Netherlands. This animal is a nightmare for greenhouse growers. It is parasitic on more than five hundred species of plants, including tomatoes, cucumbers and begonias. It is said that the whitefly of tobacco was introduced to us by ornamental plants such as the Chinese rose and poinsettia. It’s a utopia to assume we’ll be totally in control of, especially since creatures can fly so well. Local damage reduction appears to be the most achievable. The size of the whiteflies of white tobacco is hardly one millimeter. They have a hunchbacked appearance, with white wings folded over their bodies. They live on the underside of the leaves, where they suck juice from the bark: the tissue responsible for transporting nutrients rich in sugar. As soon as the females emerge from the pupa, they begin to lay small eggs on a sheet, the total of which is between fifty and four hundred eggs. Quarter-millimeter larvae crawl out of it and move across the leaf until they find a suitable place for their food. There they absorb themselves full of juice for weeks. The length of the life cycle of the whitefly depends on the temperature: if it is above 20 degrees, then it lasts 22 days – then the adults live for two weeks. At lower temperatures, the cycle can last 70 days and the creatures can live for up to two months. Everything goes a little slower after that. The main damage to the plant is not caused by the loss of sap, nor by the waste excreted by aphids on the assembly line in the form of “honey dew” – which makes plants sticky and prone to fungi. The main problem is that the tobacco whitefly carries more than a hundred types of viruses, which can end up in the host plant and cause diseases. Insects are able to evade the plant’s defense mechanisms. They use extraordinary tactics. The trade journal Cell reported a first scientific discovery: an insect that extracted a gene from a plant to avoid the plant’s resistance to its presence. It is the gene that protects the plant from its own poison. The insect has also acquired resistance to phytotoxin. Research has shown that turning the gene off makes whiteflies more susceptible to plant toxins, providing a perspective for developing an effective pesticide. Tobacco whiteflies have also developed resistance to chemical pesticides. Farmers now focus mainly on biological control with predatory insects and parasitic wasps in their greenhouses, which attack aphids. However, they do not control more than one population group. Extermination is no longer an option. Globalization affects us in many ways.

See also  La Blockbuster at Ter Duinen Nursing Home in Nieuwpoort due to Coronavirus infection - KW.be

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *