Study on infestation and subsequent effect of sucking insects on tomato plants

Five tomato varieties viz., BARI Tomato 2, BARI Tomato 14, BARI Tomato 15, BARI Tomato 16, and BARI Tomato 17 were screened for their reaction against thrips Scirtothrips dorsalis, aphid Aphis gossypi, and whitefly Bemisia tabaci, the major sucking pests of tomato plants in Bangladesh. Infestation levels of these insects differed significantly on the leaves, inflorescences, flowers, and fruits among the tomato varieties. BARI Tomato 15 was the least susceptible variety followed by BARI Tomato 16.

The damage severity score of the sucking insects and percent virus-infected plants of the tested varieties showed significant variations. BARI Tomato 15 and BARI Tomato 16 were statistically similar and showed the lowest level of infection and severity score. The durations of growth stages among the tomato varieties were significantly different, and BARI Tomato 16 was found to be of the shortest duration. Sucking insect infestation significantly affected the morphological and phytochemical characteristics of the tomato plants. The lowest reduction of inflorescence/plant, fruit/ inflorescence, fruiting branch/plant, fruit weight, and seed weight were found in BARI Tomato 15.

Statistically similar and the lowest reduction of branch/plant, flower/inflorescence, chlorophyll, and pH was found in BARI Tomato 15 and BARI Tomato 16. Proline increased in all the tomato varieties and the results were the highest and lowest in BARI Tomato 14 and BARI Tomato 16, respectively. The sucking insects caused a relatively low level of damage to BARI Tomato 15 and BARI Tomato 16, which are recommended for cultivation.

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