Enzymes Forming Honeydew Sugars from Cotton Phloem Sap Are Found in Sweetpotato Whitefly Eggs

Donald L. Hendrix, Douglas Taysom, Terry Steele, Elizabeth W. Davidson, Bradley J. Segura


Homogenates prepared from eggs of the sweetpotato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci Gennadius) have been found to be capable of converting sucrose, the major sugar in cotton phloem sap, into the sugars characteristic of sweetpotato whitefly honeydew. Since eggs contain mycetomes, this finding is in keeping with the hypothesis that enzymes located in (or are associated with) the mycetomes convert cotton plant phloem sap into honeydew. Such homogenates are proposed as a model system which could be used to better understand honeydew formation and for screening of materials which could be used to interfere with this process in Bemisia. Because individual sugars vary widely in their sticky nature, such an approach might be utilized to decrease the sticky nature of honeydew-contaminated cotton fiber. In addition, since B. tabaci must form honeydew to survive, materials so obtained might also be employed as highly specific insecticides to control this destructive cotton pest.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1994 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pp. 1237 - 1238
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998