Laboratorium voor Plantenveredeling, WUR Plant Breeding
Thrips are damaging pests in pepper worldwide. They can cause damage directly by feeding on leaves, fruits or flowers, and also indirectly by transferring viruses, especially tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV). Although thrips are among the most damaging pests in pepper, until now there is no commercial variety with a useful level of resistance to thrips. This is at least partly due to the lack of knowledge on resistance levels in pepper germplasm of QTLs and/or genes for resistance, and of information about resistance mechanisms to thrips in pepper. This paper describes our research aimed at developing practical and reliable screening methods for thrips resistance in pepper and at identifying pepper accessions showing a strong resistance to thrips. Thirty-two pepper accessions from four species of pepper (Capsicum annuum, C. baccatum, C. chinense and C. frutescens) and two species of thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis and Thrips parvispinus) were used in this study. Our results indicate that the laboratory based leaf disc test and the detached leaf test can be used as reliable screening methods for thrips resistance in pepper. We observed a large variation for resistance to thrips in Capsicum that can be exploited in breeding programs.