• Diabrotica v. virgifera;
  • maize breeding;
  • plant resistance;
  • root pests

Abstract:  In the hopes of lessening the current reliance on soil insecticides, developing a viable alternative for transgenic maize hybrids, and providing sustainable options for Europe, researchers recently have been developing novel maize lines that exhibit resistance and/or tolerance to corn rootworm larvae. Here we report the results of a 2-year field experiment in a northern growing region assessing the resistance and tolerance of 10 experimental synthetic maize populations selected for varying levels of damage from western corn rootworm larvae, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte (Col.: Chrysomelidae) and four maize hybrids. Maize non-preference, antibiosis and tolerance to rootworms was evaluated using previously established methods, including: the Iowa 1–6 root damage rating scale, root fresh weight, compensatory root growth ratings and adult rootworm emergence. Among the experimental synthetic maize populations, BS29-11-01 was the most susceptible, and had a mean root damage rating that was greater than the highly susceptible maize hybrid B37 × H84. This line also had the lowest mean root fresh weight and one of the lowest mean compensatory root growth ratings. In contrast, CRW8-3 appeared to be tolerant to western corn rootworms, and had the lowest mean root damage rating, which was comparable with that of the non-transgenic hybrid DeKalb® 46-26.