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Evaluation of onion (Allium cepa) germplasm entries for resistance to onion thrips, Thrips tabaci (Lindeman) in Tanzania

  • Gabriel Michael Njau (a1) (a2) (a3), Agnes M. S. Nyomora (a3), Fekadu Fufa Dinssa (a2), Jian-Cheng Chang (a1) (a4), P. Malini (a1), S. Subramanian (a5) and R. Srinivasan (a1)...
Abstract

Onion thrips, Thrips tabaci (Lindeman), is a prominent species infesting onion and tomato in the northern highlands of Tanzania. It causes considerable leaf damage by direct feeding and also transmits the Iris yellow spot virus (IYSV). Hence, one of the objectives of this study was to identify the most resistant onion entries against T. tabaci. One highly resistant (VI038552) and two resistant onion entries (VI038512 and AVON 1067) were identified against T. tabaci. Besides thrips resistance, the bulb size of VI038512 was also equivalent to one of the commercial varieties, Texas. The highly resistant VI038552 recorded the highest yield, followed by the resistant entry, VI038512. However, the yield of AVON 1067 was significantly lower. Elucidation of the biophysical bases of resistance revealed that there was a significant negative correlation between leaf angle as well as leaf toughness and thrips damage. The total epicuticular wax content in the leaves had a weak and non-significant negative relationship with thrips damage. The scanning electron microscopic study confirmed that the wax crystals occurred as filaments, rods, platelets, tubes and complex dendritic structures, and that they were densely arranged in resistant or moderately resistant entries. Studies on the biochemical basis of resistance confirmed that there was a significant negative relationship between total phenol content and thrips damage. Similarly, the relationship between total foliar amino acids or total sugars and thrips damage was inversely correlated and non-significant. Hence, entries VI038552 and VI038512 could be promising candidates for breeding programmes aimed at developing onion varieties that are resistant to thrips and that are high yielding, which will help to enhance the productivity of onions in sub-Saharan Africa.

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*E-mail: srini.ramasamy@worldveg.org
References
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International Journal of Tropical Insect Science
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