Influence of Buchnera on the Detoxification of Fungal-Toxins in Rhopalosiphum Padi

Student Author(s)

Brittany Leonard

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Thomas Bultman

Document Type


Event Date



The bacteria symbiont of many aphids, Buchnera aphidicola, is instrumentally important in the survival of aphids. The bacteria supply essential amino acids, which aphids do not acquire from their diet of phloem sap. However, there is little knowledge of the symbiotic relationship beyond this and it is possible the bacteria are involved in detoxification of toxins. Aposymbiotic (without bacteria) aphids were obtained by feeding them antibiotics via barley. Disruption of bacteria was assessed with PCR and light microscopy. These aphids and symbiotic aphids (Rhopalosiphum padi) were placed on both infected (containing the endophyte, Neotyphodium coenophialum) and uninfected tall fescue (Schedonorus arundinaceus) for a week. The number of live aphids was recorded and analyzed. Two experiments were performed and the results of the two experiments were contrary to what was expected. The aposymbiotic aphids survived significantly better than symbiotic aphids in the first experiment and both aposymbiotic and symbiotic aphids survived equally well in the second experiment. Further tests will need to be performed to confirm the disruption in the aposymbiotic aphids.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. 1119775.

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