Physiological responses of wheat and barley to Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia (Mordvilko) and bird cherry-oat aphid, Rhopalosiphum padi (L.) (Hemiptera: Aphididae)

Lisa D. Franzen, Andrea R. Gutsche, Tiffany M. Heng-Moss, Leon G. Higley, Tulio B. Macedo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Although aphids are among the most injurious of all agronomic insect pests, much remains unknown about how their feeding alters plant physiology. Two experiments were conducted to examine the physiological responses of wheat, Triticum aestivum L. and barley, Hordeum vulgare L. to injury by Diuraphis noxia (Mordvilko) and Rhopalosiphum padi (L.) (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Gas-exchange parameters, chlorophyll fluorescence, and chlorophyll content were examined at 3, 6, and 9 days post-infestation on control and aphid (D. noxia and R. padi) infested treatments. In general, chlorophyll content and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters (non-variable minimal fluorescence, maximal fluorescence, and variable fluorescence) were not significantly affected by either aphid species. Photochemical and non-photochemical quenching coefficients were significantly impacted by both aphid species, suggesting that aphid feeding may influence the photoprotective xanthophyll cycle altering the thylakoid membrane pH gradient. Feeding by both aphid species resulted in an increase in electron transport rate, but at different time periods. Wheat plants infested with D. noxia had accelerated declines in photosynthetic capacity when compared to R. padi-infested and control plants. These plants exhibited decreased values for Amax, which was accompanied by decreased values for Vcmax and Jmax Neither aphid species negatively affected the photosynthetic capacity of the barley plants until day 9. At this time, aphid-infested plants had decreased values for Amax which was accompanied by decreased values in Jmax. Although R. padi feeding does not typically result in visual damage symptoms as previously demonstrated, clearly this aphid does have an impact on the gas-exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence of its host plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalArthropod-Plant Interactions
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008


  • Barley
  • Chlorophyll content
  • Chlorophyll fluorescence
  • Gas-exchange
  • Non-symptomatic and symptomatic aphids
  • Plant-insect interactions
  • Wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science

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