Science into practice - Lettuce aphid under surveillance

UK lettuce crops are infested commonly by four species of aphid. Of these, the currant-lettuce aphid, Nasonovia ribisnigri, is of greatest economic importance, being difficult to control, particularly on crops that are close to maturity.

HDC-funded studentship CP 67 aims to provide information on factors regulating aphid infestations that can be used to improve control strategies. It intends to learn more about the biology and timing of the currant-lettuce aphid's life cycle to identify any differences between clones that have been able to overcome aphid resistance bred into modern lettuce varieties and wild types, which have not.

In the first year, measurements of aphid development on susceptible and resistant varieties showed the impact of temperature on growth rate at 10 and 25 degsC. Both aphid types took between 17 and six days to reach adult stage. Some wild types developed to adults on aphid-resistant varieties, although their survival and reproduction were weakened.

From the results so far, it looks as though individual aphids that can break a plant's resistance are more likely to develop into winged adults, which would help populations of resistance-breaking clones to disperse more effectively.

The next annual report is due in September 2011 and the final report in December 2012. For copies, please visit the HDC website.

Dates for your diary

HDC field vegetables panel meeting, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, 10 March.

HDC HNS panel meeting, Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining, London, 24 March.

Horticultural Development Company

For details on all HDC activities, visit

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