Elite Research Scholarships

Identification and chemical characterisation of a potato metabolite conveying a thrips-deterrent phenotype and its genetic inheritance in potato

Identification and chemical characterisation of a potato metabolite conveying a thrips-deterrent phenotype and its genetic inheritance in potato

Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) is vectored naturally by several species of thrips, and causes significant losses to potato cropping.  At present there are no disease management strategies effective in reducing losses to TSWV to acceptable levels.  Use of insecticides to control vector thrips populations can be problematic and thrips may escape treatment, may develop resistance to registered chemicals, or migratory populations of viruliferous thrips may transmit the virus before treatments are applied negating any effect.  Avoidance of thrips association with the potato crop through natural (or chemical) deterrence is therefore highly desirable. Recent studies have demonstrated presence of an as yet uncharacterised volatile naturally associated with certain potato clones associated with a strong thrips-deterrent phenotype. 

In this project we would utilise state of the art chemical analytical facilities within the University of Tasmania’s Central Science Laboratory to isolate and characterise this (or these) bioactive compound(s). This process would require the production of a population of sibling potato clones derived from parents with and without the thrips-deterrent phenotype that we would also phenotype and analyse genomic DNA from to genetically map the trait.  This project would involve close collaboration with potato geneticists from Crop & Food Research, New Zealand, and would require some studies to be conducted in New Zealand.

More Information: www.utas.edu.au/agsci
Contact: Assoc Prof Calum Wilson
Calum.Wilson@utas.edu.au