Physico morphic factors influencing resistance in hybrid maize

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Maize stem borer, Chilo partellus (Swinhoe) and shoot fly, Atherigona soccata (Rondani) are major insect pests of maize. Management of these insect pests, using traditional chemicals has failed because of pest-resistance against them, as well as pest resurgence and environmental pollution. Maximum available varieties are attacked by C. partellus and A. soccata and receive huge yield losses by these insects. Screening of new hybrid genotypes of maize against C. partellus and A. soccata is the main purpose of this research project. Physico-morphic plant characters of the selected hybrid genotypes will also be studied. Experiments will be carried out at the research farms of University of Agriculture, Faisalabad using Randomized Complete Block Design. Experiment will be replicated thrice. Data will be collected on weekly basis for dead hearts. Collected data will be analyzed using M-Stat software. Comparison of significant treatments will be calculated by using DMR Test at α=0.05.


Maize (Zea mays L.) is one of the major Kharif (summer growing season) crops in Pakistan. It is the leading world cereal in total production and it's also has the highest yield among the cereals. It was cultivated on an area of 1015 thousand hectare with total annual grain production 3313 thousand tons and an average yield 3264 kg/hectare during 2007-2008 (Anonymous, 2007). Maize contributes about 6.4%of the total production of the country. Its grain contains considerably more starch, fat and vitamin A as compared to other cereal. Maize is recommended to heart patients due to cholesterol free nature. It has long leaves and thick succulent stem that result in higher fodder yield and contain more nutrients than any other fodder crop. It is an indispensable part of human diet and animal feed (Maitti and Wische Ebelling, 1998). The most important insects pest in maize are the maize and jowar stem borer (Chilo partellus Swinhoe), Shoot fly (Atherigona soccata), Army worm (Mythimna separata) and many other species of aphids. The infestation ultimately results in total failure of crop (singh and Sharma, 1984). In the most infested area the insect damages is up to 50% of the maize crop which is the then liable to secondary attack by other pathogen (Lisoweiz, 2000).

Maize stem borer, chilo partellus (Swinhoe) is the most notorious pest of maize crop. Almost 75% damage of 50% crop occurs due to attack of maize stem borer (Latif et al., 1960). In case of severe infestation it causes the total failure of crop (Rafique, 1986).

It is one of the major contributing factors responsible for low yield in Pakistan. In Pakistan, there is no maize cultivar resistant to borer. Generally, it is controlled by insecticides which not only cause environmental pollution and hazards to human beings and animals, but also increases the cost of production. Resistant maize can be effective and safe solution for minimizing the pesticide use, improving natural balance and enhancing the activity of bio-control agents, it can also reduce the cost of production.

The maize shoot fly, Atherigona soccata Rondani (Diptera: Muscidae), is economically an important pest of grain, forage and sweet maize in Asia, Mediterranean Europe and Africa. It infests the maize seedlings between the first and fourth weeks after emergence by ovipositing eggs on the abaxial surface of the third to sixth basal leaves. On hatching, the maggot moves down between the leaf sheath and cuts through the central meristematic tissue of the developing leaf resulting in withering of the central shoot known as deadheart.' The maggot feeds on the decaying tissue of the growing point (Ponnaiya, 1951). The growth and development of the larva is completed within the infested seedling. Loss in plant stand and grain yield due to shoot fly damage is high under delayed plantings, especially in high yielding cultivars (Rai et al., 1978).

The larvae feed on the decaying tissue of the central leaf and pupate in the soil. As a result of deadheart formation, the main shoot is killed, and the plant may produce axial tillers if sufficient moisture and nutrients are available. The axial tillers serve as a mechanism of recovery resistance if they remain undamaged, but if shoot fly infestation continues, the seedling may die or presents a rossette appearance and fails to produce any grain. The levels of shoot fly infestation in sorghum may reach as high as 90% under delayed sowings (Hiremath & Renukarya, 1966; Rao & Gowda, 1967).

Insecticides have been shown to kill the natural enemies of many insects which result in the outbreak of secondary pests (Mathews, 1983). Tolstava and Atanove, 1982 observed low percentage of predators and parasites in chemical based field in Russia. It has been clinically diagnosed that person actively engaged in pesticide manufacturing business have higher cholesterol and pesticides in their body (Krawinkel et al., 1989).

Keeping these factors in mind, current studies on screening of hybrid genotypes of maize against C. partellus and shoot fly, Atherigona soccata (Rondani) will be conducted. A resistant source against these insects will be identified through screening and evaluation under natural condition.


Kumar et al., (1997) reported that large number of maize genotype proved resistance to Chilo partellus have been identified and observed that ethanolic extract inhibit the growth and development of Chilo partellus. Data showed that grain yield reduction on foliar injury due to attack of spotted stem bore (SSB) on the genotype of maize variety both antibiosis and tolerance was observed as component of resistance.

Khan et al., (2000) studied that Sarhad white was least susceptible because of dead hearts and percent infestation was observed to other three tested varieties. Sarhad white variety was better than other varieties on the basis of plant height, weight of stalk and other characteristics.

Berg and Ebnebe (2001) reported in a review that in Lesotho (Africa) no stem borer resistant maize or sorghum varieties were available and farmer mainly planted land race of these crops. Surveys indicated that insecticide use was on the increase in Lesotho, but the efficacy of insecticides used for borer control was not always adequate

Kumar et al., (2001) studied that zero tillage can be useful for the production of maize. This system of tillage on growth, grain yield and resistance of maize hybrid were studied against borer .The resistance /susceptibility of hybrid against southern corn borer (SCB) was not altered by tillage system. Observations support the use of zero tillage for maize production. Data shows that grain yield due to attack of SCB in tillage system were not affected. Zero tillage can be useful to prevent soil erosion.

Songa et al., (2001) observed that stem borer damage greatly reduced maize yield, with tunnel lengths than 20 cm causing a 40% reduction of potential yield. A 33% yield loss was found in plant with more than one stem borer exist hole.

De-Groote (2002) found that stem borer is one of the most important pests of maize in Kenya, loses was estimated to be 12.9%, amounting to 0.39 million tones of maize, with an estimated value of US$ 76 million. High potential areas had relatively low crop loss level (10-12%). Such estimates are useful for setting research and extension priorities

Ferdu et al., (2002) observed that despite use of pesticides, there were great losses in maize crop due to arthropod pests, particularly in developing countries. Maize suffers from the attack of pests from seedling to maturity.

Ahmed et al., (2003) studied varietals resistance with collaboration of biological control against six maize varieties. One site having Trichogramma cards are placed in plot of each variety, while other was placed in a plot of each variety. Results show that Trichogramma chilonis was not much effective to suppress the maize infestation by Chilo Partellus.

Awan et al. ( 2003) reported that four maize cultivars are studied to check resistance against maize stem borer (Chilo Partellus).The varieties were Sarhad yellow,EV-1097,Kissan,Babar,Agaiti-85.In case of stem damage EV-209, was much more susceptible. The stem damage in case of height difference of healthy and damaged plants, the maximum difference of 33cm was found in C1751-147-31and NARC 25 F1 whereas the minimum difference of 5cm were observed.

Shahzad et al. (2006) reported that ten maize cultivars were screened during 2000-2002, against maize borer and shootfly.EV-5098, EV-6098, Sahiwal-2002 showed high grain yield. The result showed that Sahiwal-2002, Agaiti-85 and Sadaf were found susceptible against both shoot fly and maize bore.

Hari et al. (2008) studied that transgenic maize hybrid viz, Probal YG,Hishell YG,Double YG, evaluated in field and laboratory and check the resistance against Chilo partellus .The result showed that Bt maize hybrid suffer less damage than non Bt with respect to plant infestation (0.0-0.6)leaf injury rating(1.0-1.1)and percent stem tunneling .The results of hybrid maize shows high mortality (79.4-100.0) in laboratory bioassays.

Dhillon et al. (2006) repotted that simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers linked to quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with resistance to sorghum shoot fly, Atherigona soccata were used to characterize the genetic and phenotypic diversity of 12 cytoplasmic malesterilem (CMS) and maintainers, 12 restorer lines, and 144 F1 hybrids. The genetic diversity was quite high among the shoot fly-susceptible parents and the hybrids based on them, as indicated by high polymorphic information content (PIC) values, while limited genetic diversity was observed among shoot fly-resistant lines. The phenotypic and genotypic dissimilarity analysis indicated that the shoot fly-resistant and -susceptible parents were 73.2 and 38.5% distinct from each other, and the morphological and genetic distances of certain resistant and susceptible cross combinations was more than their resistant or susceptible parents. Genetic variability among the groups was low (10.8%), but high within groups (89.2%). The genetic and morphological distances suggested that the F1 hybrids were closer to CMS (5 to 12% dissimilar) than the restorer (11 to 87% dissimilar), suggesting that CMS influences the expression of resistance to sorghum shoot fly. The SSR markers can be used to characterize the homologous traits in sorghum germplasm.

Dhillon et al. (2005) verified that shoot fly is an important pest of sorghum, and host plant resistance is one of the most effective components for managing this pest. Most of the hybrids grown in India based on milo cytoplasm (A1 cytoplasm) are highly susceptible to shoot fly. Therefore, the present studies were undertaken to evaluate different male-sterile cytoplasms (CMS) for their relative susceptibility to sorghum shoot fly. Oviposition and deadheart formation were significantly lower on the maintainer lines as compared to the corresponding male-sterile lines. Among the cytoplasms tested, A4M cytoplasm showed antixenosis for oviposition and suffered lower deadheart formation than the other cytoplasms tested. The A4G1 and A4M cytoplasms suffered lower deadhearts in tillers than the other cytoplasms. Recovery following shoot fly damage in A4M, A3, and A2 cytoplasms was better thanin the other cytoplasms tested. The larval and pupal periods were longer and male and female pupal weights lower in A4M and A4VzM CMS backgrounds compared to the other CMS systems. Fecundity and antibiosis indices on CMS lines were lower than on the B-lines. The A4M cytoplasm was found to be relatively resistant to sorghum shoot fly, and can be exploited for developing shoot fly-resistant hybrids for sustainable crop production in future.

Singh et al. (2004) explained that stability of biochemical constituents such as reducing sugars, total sugars, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, chlorophyll and moisture contents against shoot fly (Atherigona soccata Rondani) at weekly intervals of seedling growth (7, 14, 21 and 28 days after emergence) in 14 selected grain sorghum genotypes [five resistant accessions (IS nos. 1054, 2146, 2312, 3962 and 4664); three susceptible checks (CK 60B, CSV 1 and CSH 1); one national variety (CSV 8R); and five post-rainy advanced generation (F6) breeding lines (148Ã-CS 3541, SPV 103Ã-IS 4664,CSV8RÃ-SPV 104, SPV 104Ã-M35-1, and PD 3-1-11 derivative)]. The genotypes IS 2312 and IS 4664 showed stability of antixenosis for oviposition during post-rainy season advanced generation lines compared to the susceptible checks. Deadheart formation was low and the expression of resistance was stable across different seedling growth stages in IS 1054 and IS 2146. Depletion in levels of reducing sugars and phosphorus in resistant genotypes played a significant role in deadheart formation in the test genotypes. Positive association of nitrogen and potassium with oviposition at early seedling stages indicated their role in releasing chemical cues for oviposition. Low levels of reducing sugars and total sugars seemed to enhance the degree of resistance to sorghum shoot fly. The total chlorophyll content had no relationship with antixenosis for oviposition. No relationship was observed between moisture content of sorghum seedlings and shoot fly resistance. Low concentrations of reducing sugars, total sugars, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in sorghum seedlings greatly enhanced the degree of antixenosis for oviposition/feeding and deadheart formation, and can be used as selection criteria for resistance to shoot fly.

VI. Materials and Methods:

Experiments will be conducted on the Experimental farm of University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. Advanced elite hybrid genotypes of maize will be sown on well prepared ridges with R x R and P x P distances of 75-cm and 22.86-cm, respectively. Randomized Complete Block Design will be used. Each genotype will be replicated thrice. No plant protection coverage will be provided in the test material to create the optimum condition for pest multiplication. All the recommended agronomic practices will be adopted during the experimentation. The infestation will be determined on the basis of dead hearts. The observations will be taken at weekly intervals. The various physico-morphic plant characters of these hybrid genotypes will also be studied. Data collected for pest infestation and various physico-morphic plant characters will be analyzed statistically by using statistic software. Comparison of the susceptible/ resistant varieties will be carried out using DMR Test at α =0.05.

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