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Keywords:

  • acid exudates;
  • Bacillus thuringiensis ;
  • biological activity;
  • chickpea;
  • Helicoverpa armigera ;
  • host plant resistance

Abstract

The gram pod borer, Helicoverpa armigera, is one of the most important constraints to chickpea production. High acidity of chickpea exudates is associated with resistance to pod borer, H. armigera; however, acidic exudates in chickpea might influence the biological activity of the bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), applied as a foliar spray or deployed in transgenic plants for controlling H. armigera. Therefore, studies were undertaken to evaluate the biological activity of Bt towards H. armigera on chickpea genotypes with different amounts of organic acids. Significantly lower leaf feeding, larval survival and larval weights were observed on ICC 506EB, followed by C 235, and ICCV 10 across Bt concentrations. Leaf feeding by the larvae and larval survival and weights decreased with an increase in Bt concentration. However, rate of decrease in leaf feeding and larval survival and weights with an increase in Bt concentration was greater on L 550 and ICCV 10 than on the resistant check, ICC 506EB, suggesting that factors in the resistant genotypes, particularly the acid exudates, resulted in lower levels of biological activity of Bt possibly because of antifeedant effects of the acid exudates. Antifeedant effects of acid exudates reduced food consumption and hence might reduce the efficacy of Bt sprays on insect-resistant chickpea genotypes or Bt-transgenic chickpeas, although the combined effect of plant resistance based on organic acids, and Bt had a greater effect on survival and development of H. armigera than Bt alone.