Influence of climatic and nutritional factors on yeast population dynamics in the phyllosphere of wheat.

Research paper by A J AJ Dik, N J NJ Fokkema, J A JA van Pelt

Indexed on: 01 Jan '92Published on: 01 Jan '92Published in: Microbial Ecology


The role of saprophytic phyllosphere yeasts in removing aphid honeydew and other nutrients from wheat leaves was evaluated in growth cabinet experiments at different temperatures and relative humidities. Population densities of both pink and white yeasts (Sporobolomyces roseus and Cryptococcus laurentii, respectively) increased between 12 and 24°C, if nutrients were supplied. White yeast numbers increased rapidly at a constant vapor pressure deficit (VPD) of 0.10 kPa and alternating VPDs of 0.10 and 0.61 kPa (each 12 hours per day) but decreased at a constant VPD of 0.61 kPa. In growth cabinet experiments with aphids on wheat plants, the amount of aphid honeydew on the leaves was lower when yeast population densities were high. Addition of amino acids to leaves with honeydew had no effect on yeast population density or the rate of honeydew consumption. This indicated that low concentrations of amino acids in aphid honeydew are not a limiting factor for honeydew consumption by the yeasts. The naturally occurring saprophytes efficiently removed fructose, sucrose, and melezitose from the phyllosphere of field-grown wheat plants.