Artificial diet for aphids - thirty years' experience
van Emden, H. F. (2009) Artificial diet for aphids - thirty years' experience. Redia, 92. pp. 163-167. ISSN 0370-4327
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Official URL: http://www.redia.it/volume-2009
Myzus persicae (Sulzer) was reared continuously for over thirty years (until it died out in December 2008) on a totally defined synthetic artificial diet, the procedure for which is described. Development time was extended on diet compared with rearing on Brussels sprout plants (Brassica oleracea L. var. gemmifera L.), and generation time was further increased by an added pre-reproductive period of 4 days. Fecundity was reduced by about two-thirds, and mean relative growth rate in weight (MRGR) was only 60% in comparison with plant-reared aphids. Applying 2 kg/cm(2) pressure to a 10% sucrose solution extended the adult longevity of Aphis fabae Scopoli by less than I day. In contrast, a short experience of half-strength diet Caused a sharp rise in honeydew excretion by A. fabae for several hours, and alternating full-strength diet with diluted diets (including water) Caused a greater weight increase. The poor performance of aphids on diet thus seems to have a behavioural rather than a mechanical explanation. The diet, designed to give optimal performance of the aphids, has proved not to be useful for nutritional studies, as any change is deleterious. Areas of aphid research where the diet has been useful, however, are studies on repellents/attractants/toxins, role of symbionts, maintenance of genotype collections, work on parasitoid behaviour in relation to plant chemistry, and collection of aphid saliva.