Pests and Diseases

Potato plants trigger aboveground defenses in response to tuber attacks

Potato plants trigger aboveground defenses in response to tuber attacksPotato plants boost the chemical defenses in their leaves when Guatemalan tuber moth larvae feed on their tubers, report researchers at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI). While the potato’s response may seem counter-intuitive, it protects against leaf-eating pests, ensuring that the plant can maintain sugar production, to continue growing tubers during the moth larvae infestation. The study, which was led by BTI Professor Georg Jander and Katja Poveda, Assistant Professor of Entomology at Cornell University, appears in the journal Oecologia. The discovery may one day help reduce potato damage from insect pests and increase tuber yields. More

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