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2019-04-05T15:00:00.0000000Z
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A major crop pest can make tomato plants lie to their neighbors
Science News
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/major-crop-pest-can-make-tomato-plants-lie-their-neighbors

BY SUSAN MILIUS 
Don’t blame the tomato. Tiny pests called silverleaf whiteflies can make a tomato plant spread deceptive scents that leave its neighbors vulnerable to attach.

Sap-sucking Bemisia tabaci, an invasive menace to a wide range of crops, are definitely insects. Yet when they attack a tomato plant, prompting a silent shriek of scents, the plant starts smelling as if bacteria or fungi have struck instead. Those phony odors prime neighboring tomato plants for an attack, but not from an insect, an international research team found.

Those plants prepare to mount a fast and strong resistance against an incoming pathogen. But that high alert suppresses the plants’ chemistry for resisting insects and “leaves them far more vulnerable to the whiteflies when they arrive,” says Xiao-Ping Yu, an entomologist at China Jiliang University in Hangzhou.


Bemisia_tabaci
Whiteflies

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