Acylsugars have been shown to provide activity against numerous insect pests of tomatoes. Comparison of acylsugar levels in four tomato plant lines, FA7/AS, FA2/AS, CU071026, and ‘Yellow Pear’, found that the acylsugar contents in the elevated acylsugar lines were significantly higher than the commercial Yellow Pear (control) tomato plant line. Adult choice tests indicated that the tomato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli, preferred to settle on the Yellow Pear and FA2/AS lines over the line with the highest content of acylsugars, FA7/AS, and the parental line, CU071026.
The no-choice test demonstrated that adults laid fewer eggs on the high acylsugar tomato lines than on the control tomato line, Yellow Pear. For all high acylsugar lines, the relative growth index of the psyllid was significantly lower compared with the commercial line, indicating a reduced potential for population growth.
Although some tomato psyllids completed their life cycle on the high acylsugar tomato plant lines, the percent survival of psyllids to the adult stage when developing on the high acylsugar lines was significantly less (range = 43.7–57.1%) than on the commercial tomato line (83.8%). All mortality occurred during the early stages of development (egg stage to third instar), which has implications for acquisition and transmission of Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum, the causal agent of tomato vein greening disease.
Therefore, with reduced attractiveness for tomato psyllids and significantly reduced survival, the high-acylsugar tomato plant lines have the potential to be part of an integrated pest management program for this pest.