We measured the total chlorophyll (Chl a+b) content in seedling leaves of fifteen maize cultivars infested by two studied aphid species (oligophagous Rhopalosiphum padi L., monophagous Sitobion avenae F.) 7 and 14 days after the beginning of infestation, using a SPAD-502 chlorophyll meter. Chlorophyll loss was more severe in R. padi-infested than in S. avenae-infested plants. Chlorophyll depletion was greater after long-term (14 days) than after short-term aphid infestation in the investigated host systems. Seedlings of Złota Karłowa and Tasty Sweet were more damaged by aphid feeding; Ambrozja and Płomyk plants were less damaged by aphid feeding.
In this study, we examined whether and to what extent oxidative stress is induced in seedlings of two winter triticale (Triticosecale Wittm.) varieties (susceptible Tornado and resistant Witon) in response to infestation by the cereal grain aphid (Sitobion avenae L.) and bird-cherry-oat aphid (Rhopalosiphum padi L.). We compared the level of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and lipid peroxidation products as well as markers of protein damage (protein-bound thiol and carbonyl groups). The studied parameters were measured at 6, 24, 48 and 96 h post-initial aphid infestation compared to the non-infested control seedlings. Our studies indicated that the cereal aphid feeding evoked oxidative stress in the triticale seedlings. Cereal aphid feeding increased the H2O2 level in triticale tissues, with maximum levels observed at 24 and 48 h post-infestation. Triticale infestation with aphids also increased lipid peroxidation products in triticale seedlings, with the maximal levels at 48 or 96 h post-infestation. Further, there was a reduction in protein thiol content and an increase in protein carbonyl content in the triticale seedlings after infestation with female aphids. Stronger triticale macromolecule damages were evoked by the oligophagous aphid R. padi. There was a more substantial protein thiol content reduction in the resistant Witon cultivar and higher accumulation of protein-bound carbonyls in the tissues of the susceptible Tornado cultivar. The changes were proportional to the aphid population and the time of aphid attack. These findings indicate that the defensive strategies against cereal aphid (S. avenae and R. padi) infestation were stimulated in triticale Tornado and Witon seedlings. Our results explain some aspects and broaden the current knowledge of regulatory mechanisms in plant-aphid interactions.