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Impact of N-acetylcysteine on the feeding behavior of Philaenus spumarius associated to the transmission of Xylella fastidiosa

Grant number: 19/13768-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2019
Effective date (End): March 18, 2020
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Plant Health
Principal Investigator:Joao Roberto Spotti Lopes
Grantee:Karla Kudlawiec
Supervisor: Alberto Fereres Castiel
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Research place: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Spain  
Associated to the scholarship:18/19980-9 - N-acetylcysteine in acquisition and transmission studies of Xylella fastidiosa in citrus, BP.MS


Citrus Variegated Chlorosis (CVC) is a disease caused by Xylella fastidiosa subesp. pauca. This bacterium is one of the ten most important plant pathogens, and it is considered re-emergent as a plant's pathogen of global importance, linked with an epidemic olive tree pandemic disease in Italy. The pathogenicity of this bacterium is dependent on the biofilm formation. The main control measures of plants with CVC have increased the production costs. New strategies have been adopted to inhibit biofilm formation at low costs and without any known damage to the environment. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an antimicrobial molecule that has been used efficiently for control by reducing bacterial titer and disease symptoms in citrus plants, and might also affect biofilm formation in the insect vector and probing activities related to pathogen acquisition and/or inoculation. The Electrical Penetration Graph technique (EPG) has been used for biological and behavioral studies of vector-bacterium interaction. This BEPE proposal is intended to apply the EPG technique to study vector-NAC interactions using an in vitro feeding system, in which NAC will be offered to the insect vector through an artificial diet, eliminating the plant effect and allowing monitoring of probing activities. The internship will be carried out at Alberto Fereres´ Lab in Spain, who is an expert in hemipteran probing behavior studies in artificial diets using EPG (Cornara et al. 2019, J. Appl. Entomol.). The spittlebug vector Philaneus spumarius will be exposed to NAC-treated plants and to artificial diets containing NAC to study its feeding behavior. The resulting data should allow us to determine if NAC affects vector feeding behavior variables associated to acquisition and inoculation of X. fastidiosa. (AU)

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