Screening for insecticide resistance in Australian field populations of Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) using bioassays and DNA sequencing

Cao Fang, Jamie E. Hopkinson, Jacob Balzer, Michael Frese, Wee Tek Tay, Thomas Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Species within the Bemisia tabaci cryptic species complex can cause significant crop damage. We used high-throughput amplicon sequencing to identify the species composition and resistance allele genotypes in field populations from cotton fields in Australia. For selected populations, the resistance phenotype was determined in bioassays and compared with sequencing data. Results: A metabarcoding approach was used to analyse the species composition in 144 field populations collected between 2013 and 2021. Two mixed AUS I and MEAM1 populations were detected, whereas the remaining 142 populations consisted of MEAM1 only. High-throughput sequencing of organophosphate and pyrethroid resistance gene amplicons showed that the organophosphate resistance allele F331W was fixed (> 99%) in all MEAM1 populations, whereas the pyrethroid resistance allele L925I in the voltage-gated sodium channel gene was detected at varying frequencies [1.0%–7.0% (43 populations); 27.7% and 42.1% (two populations); 95%–97.5% (three populations)]. Neither organophosphate nor pyrethroid resistance alleles were detected in the AUS I populations. Pyrethroid bioassays of 85 MEAM1 field-derived populations detected no resistance in 51 populations, whereas 32 populations showed low frequency resistance, and 2 populations were highly resistant. Conclusions: We demonstrate that high-throughput sequencing and bioassays are complementary approaches. The detection of target site mutations and the phenotypic provides a comprehensive analysis of the low-level resistance to pyrethroids that is present in Australian cotton farms. By contrast, a limited survey of whitefly populations from horticulture found evidence of high-level resistance against pyrethroids. Furthermore, we found that the F331W allele (linked to organophosphate resistance) is ubiquitous in Australian MEAM1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3248-3259
Number of pages12
JournalPest Management Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


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