• Brevicoryne brassicae;
  • Myzus persicae;
  • Brassica fruticulosa;
  • B. spinescens;
  • B. juncea;
  • B. nigra;
  • B. carinata. B. macrocarpa;
  • B. villosa var drepanensis;
  • B. oleracea;
  • B. napus;
  • B. campestris;
  • host-plant resistance;
  • glucosinolates;
  • amino acids;
  • leaf water potential;
  • generalist;
  • specialist;
  • aphids


This paper describes an experiment to investigate the relative importance of glucosinolates and the availability of free amino acids in the phloem to the feeding behaviour and development of the specialist brassica aphid, Brevicoryne brassicae (L) (cabbage aphid) and the generalist, Myzus persicae, (Sultzer) (peach potato aphid). Aphid development was determined on brassica species and cultivated brassica varieties. Analysis of individual glucosinolates in the wild brassica species identified significant differences in their profiles and in their concentrations present in freeze dried leaves. Multiple regression analysis showed a significant correlation (r = 0.83) between the intrinsic rate of increase of B. brassicae and glucosinolate concentrations; four glucosinolates, 2-OH-3-butenyl, and 2-propenylglucosinolate, 3-methoxyindolyl and 4-pentenylglucosinolates accounted for 79% of the variation. The intrinsic rate of increase of M. persicae was less correlated, though still significant (r = 0.5); 3-indolyglucosinolate and 3-butenylglucosinolate accounted for 47% of the variation. Regression analysis also showed a correlation between phloem amino acid concentrations and the intrinsic rate of increase of B. brassicae (r = 0.48) but not of M. persicae. The concentration of the important amino acids tyrosine, alanine, leucine and glutamic acid, accounted for 43% of the variation in intrinsic rate of increase. Leaf water potential of the Brassica species showed no relationship with the intrinsic rate of increase of either B. brassicae or M. persicae.