Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 10:29 AM

Functional genomics to study the modulation of aboveground insect herbivores and phytopathogens by belowground microbiota

P. Larry Phelan,, Ohio State University, Department of Entomology, OARDC, 1680 Madison Avenue, Wooster, OH, Saskia A. Hogenhout,, The John Innes Centre, Department of Disease and Stress Biology, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, United Kingdom, and Luis A. Caņas,, Ohio State University / OARDC, Department of Entomology, 1680 Madison Avenue, Wooster, OH.

In on-farm comparisons throughout Ohio and greenhouse studies, we have confirmed anecdotal reports by farmers that plants growing in organically managed soils are often more resistant to insects and disease than those grown in conventionally managed soils. We applied recently developed tools of functional genomics and metabolomics to elucidate the mechanisms underlying a soil-based resistance of tomato plants to insects and diseases. Microarray analysis showed consistent differences in RNA expression between plants amended with compost versus chemical fertilizer. Likewise, soil amendments led to significantly different profiles of sap amino acids and sugars, which strongly impact insect and disease development.

Species 1: Hemiptera Aleyrodidae Bemisia tabaci (sweetpotato whitefly)