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Pest Manag Sci. 2019 Jun 17. doi: 10.1002/ps.5522. [Epub ahead of print]

Effects of biochar amendment to soils on stylet penetration activities by aphid Sitobion avenae and planthopper Laodelphax striatellus on their host plants.

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College of Plant Protection, Key Laboratory of Integrated Pest Management in Crops in Eastern China, Ministry of Agriculture, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China.



To understand why biochar amendment to soils has a negative effect on sap-feeding insects on their host plants, we used electrical penetration graph (EPG) technique to examine probing and feeding behaviors of the English grain aphid Sitobion avenae on wheat and the small brown planthopper Laodelphax striatellus on rice; their food plants were cultured in soils receiving different treatments of biochar type (derived from three different types of feedstock: wheat, corn or rice straw) by amendment rate (four levels: 0, 1.5%, 3%, or 5%). In addition we analyzed the contents of key nutrients in the wheat plant to explore their relevance to aphid feeding activities.


Biochar amendment to soils increased the number of the events and duration of non-probing and probing-preparation activities while decreased the duration of stylet penetrations in phloem sieve by both S. avenae and L. striatellus. The effect varied depending on biochar amendment rate in S. avenae while on both biochar type and amendment rate in L. striatellus. Biochar amendment increased the contents of sucking stimulatory nitrogen and decreased those of sucking inhibitory silicon and potassium in wheat plants; this effect varied with biochar amendment rate and not yet with biochar type.


Biochar amendment can make stylet penetration activities less effective by S. avenae and L. striatellus on their host plants. The ineffective penetration may result from the alteration in the contents of penetration-relevant nutrients in the host plant as a consequence of biochar amendment to soils. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Charcol; aphids; feedstock; integrated pest management; plant nutritive; rice planthopper


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