Searching for bacterial endosymbionts of sugarcane aphid Melanaphis sacchari

Monday, November 17, 2014
Exhibit Hall C (Oregon Convention Center)
Kathryne Fryer , Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Josephine Antwi , Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Raul Medina , Entomology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
The sugar cane aphid Melanaphis sacchari was observed to be a serious emerging aphid in sorghum in the United States in 2013. The estimated yeild loss in certain regions of the United States reached up to 50%. The more that is understood about M. sacchari the faster this emerging sorghum pest can be successfully controlled. Research in other aphid species has revealed that bacterial endosymbionts play important roles in several aphid species. Endosymbiont benefits for aphid species include nutritional benefits, protection against disease and natural enemies, heat tolerance, and host range expansion. Nothing is known about the endosymbionts of M. sacchari. Understanding the bacterial endosymbionts associated with the sugar cane aphid may explain its recent switch from sugarcane to sorghum. In the present study, polymerase chain reactions (PCR) using specific primers from bacterial symbionts commonly found in other aphid species were used to screen for bacterial symbionts in M. sacchari. Aphids used for this study were collected from sorghum (grain,sweet and forage), sugar cane, corn, Sudan grass, and Johnson grass. This study presents data on bacterial endosymbtions present in the sugarcane aphid on several of its host-plant species.