4 A Review on Silicon Based Induced Resistance in Plants against Insect Pests

Authors: Muhammad Sufyan, Muhammad Kamran, Asim Abbasi, Iqra


Development of resistance in insect pests against various groups of insecticides has prompted the use of alternative integrated pest management approaches. Among these induced host plant resistance represents an important strategy as it offers a practical, cheap and long lasting solution to keep pests populations below economic threshold level (ETL). Silicon (Si) has a major role in regulating plant eco-relationship by providing strength to the plant in the form of anti-stress mechanism which was utilized in coping with the environmental extremes to get a better yield and quality end produce. Among biotic stresses, insect herbivore signifies one class against which Si provide defense. Silicon in its neutral form (H₄SiO₄) is absorbed by the plants via roots through an active process accompanied by the help of different transporters which were located in the plasma membrane of root cells or by a passive process mostly regulated by transpiration stream, which occurs via the xylem cells along with the water. Plants tissues mainly the epidermal cell walls are the sinks of absorbed silicon where it polymerizes in the form of amorphous silica or monosilicic acid. The noteworthy function of this absorbed silicon is to provide structural rigidity to the tissues and strength to the cell walls. Silicon has both direct and indirect effects on insect herbivores. Increased abrasiveness and hardness of epidermal plant tissues and reduced digestibility as a result of deposition of Si primarily as phytoliths within cuticle layer is now the most authenticated mechanisms of Si in enhancing plant resistance to insect herbivores. Moreover, increased Si content in the diet also impedes the efficiency by which insects transformed consumed food into the body mass. The palatability of food material has also been changed by Si application, and it also deters herbivore feeding for food. The production of defensive compounds of plants like silica and phenols have also been amplified by the exogenous application of silicon sources which results in reduction of the probing time of certain insects. Some studies also highlighted the role of silicon at the third trophic level as it also attracts natural enemies of insects attacking the crop. Hence, the inclusion of Si in pest management approaches can be a healthy and eco-friendly tool in future.

Keywords: Resistance, Stresses, phytoliths, defensive

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3 Global Climate Change and Insect Pollinators

Authors: Muhammad Sufyan, Muhammad Ashfaq, Asim Abbasi, Iqra, Muhammad Ibrahim Shahid


The foundation of human life on earth relies on many ecosystem services provided by insects of which pollination owes a vital role. The pollination service offered by insects has annual worth of approximately €153 billion. The majority of the flowering plants depends on entomophiles pollination for their reproduction and formation of seeds and fruits. The quantity and quality of insect pollination have multiple implications for stable ecosystem, diverse species level, food security and climate change resilience. The rapidly mounting human population, depletion of natural resources and the global climate change forced us to enter an era of pollination crisis. Climate change not only alters the phenology, population abundance and geographic ranges of different pollinators but also hinders their pollination activities. The successful pollination process relies heavily on the synchronization of biological events of pollinators with the phenological stages of the flowering plants. However, there are possibilities that impending climatic changes may result in asynchrony between plant-pollinators interactions and also mitigate the extent of pollination. The trophic mismatch mostly occurs when pollinators and plants inhabiting the same environment use different environmental cues to regulate their biological events, as these cues are not equally affected by climate change. Synchrony has also been disrupted when one of the interacting species has migratory nature and depend on cues for migration. Moreover, irregular rainfalls and up-surging temperature also disrupts the foraging behaviour of pollinators resulting in reduced flowers visits by insect. Climate change has a direct impact on the behavior and physiology of honey bees, the best known pollinators owing to their extreme floral fidelity. Rising temperature not only alleviates the quantity and quality of floral environment but also alters the bee’s colony harvesting and development ability. Furthermore, a possible earlier decline of flowers is expected in a growing season due to this rising temperature. This may also lead to disrupt the efficiency bumblebee queen that require a constant and adequate nectar and pollen supply throughout the entire growing season for healthy colony production. Considering the role of insect pollination in our ecosystem, their associated risks regarding climate change should be addressed properly for devising a well-focused research needed for their conservation.

Keywords: Climate Change, pollination, Synchronization, phenological

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2 A Review on Biological Control of Mosquito Vectors

Authors: Muhammad Sufyan, Asim Abbasi, Iqra, Hafiza Javaria Ashraf


The share of vector-borne diseases (VBDs) in the global burden of infectious diseases is almost 17%. The advent of new drugs and latest research in medical science helped mankind to compete with these lethal diseases but still diseases transmitted by different mosquito species, including filariasis, malaria, viral encephalitis and dengue are serious threats for people living in disease endemic areas. Injudicious and repeated use of pesticides posed selection pressure on mosquitoes leading to development of resistance. Hence biological control agents are under serious consideration of scientific community to be used in vector control programmes. Fish have a history of predating immature stages of different aquatic insects including mosquitoes. The noteworthy examples in Africa and Asia includes, Aphanius discolour and a fish in the Panchax group. Moreover, common mosquito fish, Gambusia affinis predates mostly on temporary water mosquitoes like anopheline as compared to permanent water breeders like culicines. Mosquitoes belonging to genus Toxorhynchites have a worldwide distribution and are mostly associated with the predation of other mosquito larvae habituating with them in natural and artificial water containers. These species are harmless to humans as their adults do not suck human blood but feeds on floral nectar. However, their activity is mostly temperature dependent as Toxorhynchites brevipalpis consume 359 Aedes aegypti larvae at 30-32 ºC in contrast to 154 larvae at 20-26 ºC. Although many bacterial species were isolated from mosquito cadavers but those belonging to genus Bacillus are found highly pathogenic against them. The successful species of this genus include Bacillus thuringiensis and Bacillus sphaericus. The prime targets of B. thuringiensis are mostly the immatures of genus Aedes, Culex, Anopheles and Psorophora while B. sphaericus is specifically toxic against species of Culex, Psorophora and Culiseta. The entomopathogenic nematodes belonging to family, mermithidae are also pathogenic to different mosquito species. Eighty different species of mosquitoes including Anopheles, Aedes and Culex proved to be highly vulnerable to the attack of two mermithid species, Romanomermis culicivorax and R. iyengari. Cytoplasmic polyhedrosis virus was the first described pathogenic virus, isolated from the cadavers of mosquito specie, Culex tarsalis. Other viruses which are pathogenic to culicine includes, iridoviruses, cytopolyhedrosis viruses, entomopoxviruses and parvoviruses. Protozoa species belonging to division microsporidia are the common pathogenic protozoans in mosquito populations which kill their host by the chronic effects of parasitism. Moreover, due to their wide prevalence in anopheline mosquitoes and transversal and horizontal transmission from infected to healthy host, microsporidia of the genera Nosema and Amblyospora have received much attention in various mosquito control programmes. Fungal based mycopesticides are used in biological control of insect pests with 47 species reported virulent against different stages of mosquitoes. These include both aquatic fungi i.e. species of Coelomomyces, Lagenidium giganteum and Culicinomyces clavosporus, and the terrestrial fungi Metarhizium anisopliae and Beauveria bassiana. Hence, it was concluded that the integrated use of all these biological control agents can be a healthy contribution in mosquito control programmes and become a dire need of the time to avoid repeated use of pesticides.

Keywords: protozoa, entomopathogenic nematodes, Toxorhynchites, vector-borne

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1 Varietal Screening of Watermelon against Powdery Mildew Disease and Its Management

Authors: Muhammad Sufyan, Asim Abbasi, Amer Habib, Sajid Hussain, Iqra, Hasnain Sajjad


Except for few scattered cases, powdery mildew disease was not a big problem for watermelon in the past but with the outbreaks of its pathotypes, races 1W and 2W, this disease becomes a serious issue all around the globe. The severe outbreak of this disease also increased the rate of fungicide application for its proper management. Twelve varieties of watermelon were screened in Research Area of Department of Plant pathology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad to check the incidence of powdery mildew disease. Disease inoculum was prepared and applied with the help of foliar spray method. Fungicides and plants extracts were also applied after the disease incidence. Percentage leaf surface area diseased was assessed visually with a modified Horsfall-Barratt scale. The results of the experiment revealed that among all varieties, WT2257 and Zcugma F1 were highly resistant showing less than 5% disease incidence while Anar Kali and Sugar baby were highly susceptible with disease incidence of more than 65%. Among botanicals neem extract gave best results with disease incidence of less than 20%. Besides neem, all other botanicals also gave significant control of powdery mildew disease than the untreated check. In case of fungicides, Gemstar showed least disease incidence i.e. < 10%, however besides control maximum disease incidence was observed in Curzate (> 30%).

Keywords: Fungicides, Botanicals, powdery mildew, pathotypes

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