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Title: Evidence for compensatory photosynthetic and yield response of soybeans to aphid herbivory

The soybean aphid, Aphis glycines Matsumura, an exotic species in North America that has been detected in 21 U.S. states and Canada, is a major pest for soybean that can reduce maximum photosynthetic capacity and yields. Our existing knowledge is based on relatively few studies that do not span a wide variety of environmental conditions, and often focus on relatively high and damaging population pressure. We examined the effects of varied populations and duration of soybean aphids on soybean photosynthetic rates and yield in two experiments. In a 2011 field study, we found that plants with low cumulative aphid days (CAD, less than 2,300) had higher yields than plants not experiencing significant aphid pressure, suggesting a compensatory growth response to low aphid pressure. This response did not hold at higher CAD, and yields declined. In a 2013 controlled-environment greenhouse study, soybean plants were well-watered and fertilized with nitrogen (N), and aphid populations were manipulated to reach moderate to high levels (8,000–50,000 CAD). Plants tolerated these population levels when aphids were introduced during the vegetative or reproductive phenological stages of the plant, showing no significant reduction in yield. Leaf N concentration and CAD were positively and significantly correlated with increasing ambientmore » photosynthetic rates. Our findings suggest that, given the right environmental conditions, modern soybean plants can withstand higher aphid pressure than previously assumed. Moreover, soybean plants also responded positively through a compensatory photosynthetic effect to moderate population pressure, contributing to stable or increased yield.« less
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  1. Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI (United States)
  2. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0022-0493; R&D Project: 21087; YN0100000
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Economic Entomology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 109; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 0022-0493
Entomological Society of America - Cambridge University Press
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; plant-insect interaction; photosynthesis; yield; leaf gas exchange; host plant resistance
OSTI Identifier: