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  • 1 University of the Free State Bloemfontein, Free State South Africa
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The Russian wheat aphid (RWA) is serious pest of wheat in South Africa since its discovery in 1978. Nitric oxide (NO) plays an essential role in the RWA resistance response of wheat. This study was conducted to establish whether NO acts upstream or downstream of salicylic acid (SA) during the RWA defence response and also to investigate the effect of NO application on RWA control. In addition, the involvement of peroxynitrite in the RWA resistance response of wheat was studied. Resistant and/or susceptible plants grown under controlled conditions (25 ± 2°C) were used. Using a NO donor, sodium nitroprusside (SNP), and a NO production inhibitor, sodium tungstate (NaWO4), it was proved that NO acts upstream of SA during the RWA resistance response of wheat. Furthermore, a significant decrease in RWA intrinsic increase rate (rm) and disease symptom development after SNP application emphasized the role of NO in the RWA resistance responses. High levels of peroxynitrite (by-product of NO) content in the RWA infested resistant plants and inhibition of secondary defence enzymes (β-1,3-glucanase and peroxidase) after urate (inhibitor of peroxynitrite production) application proposed the involvement of this molecule in the signalling events of the RWA resistance.

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