Ceratovacuna lanigera (Zehnt) Induces Biochemical Changes in Sugarcane
The wooly aphid Ceratovacuna lanigera (Zehnt) is one of the
dreaded pests of sugarcane. The present investigation deals with the biochemical
changes occurring during sugarcane wooly aphid infestation. At low infestation
level chlorophyll a, b and total chlorophyll was reduced to 23, 08 and
18%, respectively as compare to healthy plant. At high infestation, level
of chlorophyll a, b and total chlorophyll was further reduced to 40, 30
and 37%, respectively. On the contrary level of polyphenol was increased
with the level of infestation and about 41% increase was observed at high
infestation level. The juice quality analysis had shown that pest infestation
also affect juice quality considerably.
Sugarcane is an important cash crop of India (Ganeshaiah et al.,
2003; Anonymous, 2003). Economy of the numbers of farmer families, especially
in the Maharashtra and Utter Pradesh states of India depend on the sugarcane
cultivation (Ganeshaiah et al., 2003). Sugarcane yield is affected
by a variety of borer and sucking pests (Maizawan et al., 1995).
Sugarcane Wooly Aphid (SWA) (Ceratovacuna lanigera Z.) is a sucking
pest, generally colonizes at the lower surface of leaves and absorbs sap
by damaging leaf tissues (Joshi and Viraktamath, 2004). It was reported
to affect most of the popular varieties of sugarcane like Co 86032, Co419,
Co8014, Co8011 and Co7527 etc. (Joshi and Viraktamath, 2004; Phukan et
al., 1988). Excretion products of SWA mainly sugars accumulate on
the leaf surface further complicating physiology of plant by supporting
the growth of sooty mould fungus (Ghosh, 1988). At present, chemical pesticide
is the most preferred option available for the control of insect pests
(Anonymous, 2003). Although much appreciated due to their efficacy, chemical
pesticide becoming less popular among the farmer community because of
the associated environmental and health hazards as well as emergence of
pesticide resistance among the pests.
Plants defend themselves against various insect pests, microbes (Knogge,
1996) and herbivores (Agrawal, 1998) attack through passive or pre-existing
mechanism like structural barriers (waxy cuticle) (Agrawal, 1998; Jackson
and Taylor, 1996; Osborne, 1996). Plant also exhibits induced cellular
defense system to protect tissues (Baker et al., 1997; Alfano and
Collmer, 1996). The induced defense system is also known as active defense
system (Baker et al., 1997; Alfano and Collmer, 1996). Plants are
known to synthesize a variety of compounds with diverse structures, commonly
called as secondary metabolites (Baker et al., 1997). Majority
of these secondary metabolites are produced in response to various insect
pests and microbial attack (Baker et al., 1997; Alfano and Collmer,
1996; Osborne, 1996). A good numbers of identified secondary metabolites
are belonging to the polyphenol group of
compounds (Keen, 1992; Maleck and Dietrich, 1999; Mauricio et al.,
1997). The level of phenolic compounds is correlated with pest or microbial
resistance of plants. Plants with higher levels of phenolics are more
resistant to insect pest, herbivores and microbial attack (Osborne, 1996).
Present study aimed at investigating the effect of Ceratovacuna lanigera
attack on photosynthetic activity and defense. In present study we have
made an attempt to identify the biochemical mechanism that leads to the
reduction in yield and quality by sugarcane wooly aphid infestation.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Collection of Plant Material: Plant material of sugarcane (healthy and infested) of variety Co
8014 used in this study was collected in the month of January 2007 from
the Khadamba village of Ahmednagar district (MS), India. Depending on
the level of infestation plants were categorized into four groups as follows
||Different groups of plant material of sugarcane used
in the study
||High infestation (4-5 green opened leaves fully covered by pest).
||Moderate infestation (about 50% area of 1-2 green opened leaves
covered by pest).
||Low infestation (about 10% area of 1-2 green opened leaves covered
||Healthy sugarcane (No infestation on any leaf).
Sugarcane samples (healthy and infested ones) were collected separately
from the selected area. Stems were sent to the sugar factory for crushing
and juice analysis and leaves were brought to the laboratory for biochemical
Extraction and Analysis: After cleaning of crusher, sugarcane stems of the above mentioned
groups were crushed separately and juice was collected in different containers.
Homogenous juice samples were analyzed in the laboratory of sugar factory
for brix, pol reading, CCS% (Commercial cane sugar), purity of juice,
reducing sugar and pH.
Leaves of above mentioned sugarcane samples were extracted for the Chlorophyll
and polyphenol estimation. Chlorophylls were extracted in 80% acetone
and polyphenols in water. The quantitative estimation of chlorophyll and
polyphenols was carried out as per methods given by Sadasivam and Manickam
(2004). Polyphenols were extracted from one-gram leaves of the above-mentioned
samples separately in distilled water. Polyphenol content was estimated
by Folin-Denis reagent using tannic acid as a standard (Sadasivam and
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Results of our study have shown that SWA considerably affects photosynthetic
ability of the sugarcane plants. About 37% reduction was observed in the
total chlorophyll content in the high infestation group of sugarcane samples
(Table 1). Loss of total chlorophyll was found to be
infestation dependent i.e., increases with the level of infestation (Table
1). Chlorophyll content is directly proportional to the yield of sugar
cane crop, since sugarcane is mainly cultivated for the sugar production
and chlorophylls are indispensable sites of sugar biosynthesis in plants.
Sugarcane wooly aphid (Ceratovacuna lanigera Z.) (SWA) was first
reported in India in 1958 as a minor pest, but become a major cause of
loss in sugarcane yield in recent years (Joshi and Viraktamath, 2004).
About 16% sugarcane crop was infested by this pest in the western Maharashtra
region, known as sugar belt of India (Joshi and Viraktamath, 2004).
Sugarcane juice analysis showed that even at low infestation level quality
of juice is affected considerably when compared to that of healthy plants.
There is not much difference in the quality parameters studied, among
the samples infested at different levels except juice purity. Purity of
the juice of healthy samples was found to be 87% while it was reduced
to 78% at low infestation and further reduced to 71% at high infestation
level (Table 2). Modulation in the metabolic activities
of plant due to the SWA could be adversely affecting juice quality in
Constitutive or induced defense mechanisms are the tools used by plant
against insect or pathogen attack (Mauricio et al., 1997; Buell,
1998). Among these defense mechanisms, inducible defense plays
||Effect of sugarcane wooly aphid on chlorophyll content
in sugarcane leaves
|*Values in parenthesis indicate % loss in chlorophyll
an important role in conferring disease resistance (Maleck and Dietrich,
1999). Inducible defense exhibit several advantages over constitutive
defense (Agrawal, 1998). It will be activated only during the attack of
pathogen or pest, saving investment of metabolic energy (Agrawal, 1998).
It may reduce the chances of developing resistance among the pest and
pathogens due to its limited exposure (Agrawal, 1998; Baldwin and Preston,
1999). Induced mechanisms are known to involve biosynthesis of novel molecules
as well as up regulation of existing defense molecules (Baker et al.,
1997; Keen, 1992) Phenolics are one of the major groups of compounds involved
in both the types of plant defense systems (Hartley and Lawton, 1991).
Results of our study also showed that the level of polyphenols increases
considerably with the level of infestation (Fig. 2, 3).
About 41% increase in polyphenol content was observed at high infestation
level (Fig. 2). Positive correlation between insect resistance
and presence of secondary metabolites was observed in some plants (Telang
et al., 2003; Giri, et al., 2003; Tamhane et al.,
||Sugarcane juice quality analysis
||Polyphenol content of sugarcane leaves at different
||Induction of polyphenol biosynthesis in sugarcane by
Ceratovacuna lanigera Z. infestation
Further studies on the detailed biochemical changes that are occurring
during SWA infestation are currently in progress in our laboratory will
provide an insight in to the SWA infestation process.
Results of present study have shown that Sugarcane Wooly Aphid infestation
largely affects photosynthetic ability of sugarcane plant thus affecting
yield. In addition to this it was found that SWA infestation modulate
metabolic activities in sugarcane (e.g., induction of polyphenol biosynthesis),
which could be associated with the poor juice quality.
Mr. S.B. Shinare and his colleagues from Dr. Baburao Bapuji Tanpure
Sugar Co. Ltd., Rahuri, Dist. Ahmednagar (MS) India are thanked for their
kind help during juice quality analysis. We express our special thanks
to Dr. S.B. Nimse, Principal of our college, for his encouragement throughout
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