Unraveling the tripartite interactions among the woolly poplar aphid, its host tree, and their environment: a lead to improve the management of a major tree plantation pest?

Topical collection: Current issues in forest and wood science: series of reviews

For an optimal deployment of poplar resistance to the gall-inducing aphid Phloeomyzus passerinii, a laboratory susceptibility assay has been developed. The nature of aphid–tree interactions during compatible and incompatible situations has been studied in detail. This should help at identifying specific resistance markers and at testing effects of site conditions on tree–pest interactions.

Context. P. passerinii is a major pest of poplar plantations in Europe, and the plantation of resistant poplar genotypes is regarded as the best long-term management strategy for this pest. This requires a sound knowledge of the interactions among the pest, its host and their environment.
Aims. Here, we review the recent advances aiming at developing an optimal deployment of host resistance versus P. passerinii.
Results. Investigations on aphid-host interactions demonstrated that P. passerinii induces pseudogalls within the bark of susceptible hosts. This results in a reduction of starch bark content during aphid outbreaks, which could be involved in tree death. The constitutive level of starch in the bark could be related to the tolerance level of trees. A susceptibility test has been designed for poplar genotypes, discriminating three categories of susceptibility depending on tree’s ability to totally or partially inhibit pseudogall induction. The test still has several limitations however. It neither takes into account the large level of individual genetic diversity of the aphid in France, nor the environmental modulation of tree resistance and tolerance, while water deficit and fertilization could potentially affect these parameters.
Conclusion. The hypotheses drawn regarding the processes leading to tree death or resistance should help at identifying resistance markers, and at testing effects of site conditions on tree–pest interactions.

Phloeomyzus passerinii, Populus, Gall, Resistance, Tolerance

Publication Open Access
Sallé, A., Pointeau, S., Bankhead-Dronnet, S. et al. Annals of Forest Science (2017) 74: 79.

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