Evaluating Tripsacum-introgressed maize germplasm after infestation with western corn rootworms (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)


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Deirdre A. Prischmann (corresponding author), United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Northern Plains Area, North Central Agricultural Research Lab, 2923 Medary Ave., Brookings, SD 57006-9401, USA. Email: deirdre.prischmann@ars.usda.gov


Maize (Zea mays L.) is a valuable commodity throughout the world, but corn rootworms (Chrysomelidae: Diabrotica spp.) often cause economic damage and increase production costs. Current rootworm management strategies have limitations, and in order to create viable management alternatives, researchers have been developing novel maize lines using Eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides L.) germplasm, a wild relative of maize that is resistant to rootworms. Ten maize Tripsacum-introgressed inbred lines derived from recurrent selection of crosses with gamagrass and teosinte (Zea diploperennis Iltis) recombinants and two public inbred lines were assessed for susceptibility to western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) and yield in a two-year field study. Two experimental maize inbred lines, SDG11 and SDG20, had mean root damage ratings that were significantly lower than the susceptible public line B73. Two other experimental maize inbred lines, SDG12 and SDG6, appeared tolerant to rootworm damage because they exhibited yield increases after rootworm infestation in both years. In the majority of cases, mean yield per plant of experimental maize lines used in yield analyses was equal to or exceeded that of the public inbred lines B73 and W64A. Our study indicates that there is potential to use Tripsacum-introgressed maize germplasm in breeding programs to enhance plant resistance and/or tolerance to corn rootworms, although further research on insect resistance and agronomic potential of this germplasm needs to be conducted in F1 hybrids.