Pest Management in Cereal Aphids

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Many pests cause very high yield losses in cereals worldwide. Pest control is as old as agriculture and provides a method to keep crops free form pests. Although many live organisms are considered pests, all of them cause significant damage to plants, measured by the crop yield decrease or by a change in its quality. Traditional treatments against plant pests are based on applying excessive amounts of agrochemicals. Additionally, broad spectrum insecticides produce the death of both the target insects and beneficial organisms of those pests. The elimination of natural enemies disrupts the natural balance of crop insects by allowing uncontrolled multiplication of pests, sometimes generating a new pest problem [1] [2] . On the contrary, this aspect is revised in the concept of integrated pest management and its environmental protection practices. This holistic approach to dealing with pests should reduce pesticide use, provide economic savings to farmers and protect both the environment and human health [3]. Aphids belong to the insect family and are considered very harmful pests in cereals. Greenbug and Russian wheat aphid are well- known aphid species. The greenbug damages their hosts by producing chlorosis, reduction of root volume in wheat [4] , barley [5] [6] [7] oat and sorghum [8] [9]. It also reduces the aerial biomass of wheat [10] , barley and rye [11]. When early attacks occur in oats and barley, a decrease in the movement of protein reserve from the seed to the aerial part of the plant has been recorded [12] [13]. Moreover, aphids can inject toxic saliva when feeding from a plant, thus transmitting some viruses. In recent years, the most effective strategy for controlling aphid damage is the development of wheat cultivars that carry resistance genes [14] [15] . Those new cultivars are the best resource to obtain durable insect resistance. For this reason, Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) is a helpful tool to accelerate the production of plant materials carrying resistance genes [16], speeding up its selection and then its transfer into the genetic background of a new cultivar.

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