Unravelling mycorrhiza-induced wheat susceptibility to the English grain aphid Sitobion avenae

Amma Simon, Peter Wellham, Gudbjorg Aradottir, Alan Gange

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Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are root symbionts that can increase or decrease aphid growth rates and reproduction, but the reason by which this happens is unknown. To investigate the underlying mechanisms of this interaction, we examined the effect of AM fungi on the English Grain aphid (Sitobion avenae) development, reproduction, attraction, settlement and feeding behaviour on two naturally susceptible varieties Triticum aestivum (L.) variety Solstice and T. monococcum MDR037, and two naturally resistant lines, T. monococcum MDR045 and MDR049. Mycorrhizal colonisation increased the attractiveness of T. aestivum var. Solstice to aphids, but there was no effect on aphid development on this variety. Using the Electrical Penetration Graph (EPG) technique, we found that mycorrhizal colonisation increased aphid phloem feeding on T. monococcum MDR037 and MDR045, colonisation also increased growth rate and reproductive success of S. avenae on these varieties. Mycorrhizas increased vascular bundle size, demonstrating that these fungi can influence plant anatomy. We discuss if and how this could be related to an enhanced success rate in phloem feeding in two varieties. Overall, we present and discuss how mycorrhizal fungi can affect the feeding behaviour of S. avenae in wheat, inducing susceptibility in a resistant variety.
Original languageEnglish
Article number46497
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2017


  • aphid
  • arbuscular mycorrhizas
  • development
  • EPG
  • grain aphid
  • resistance
  • Sitobion avenae
  • susceptibility
  • Triticum monococcum
  • vascular bundles

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