Supplementary UV radiation on eggplants indirectly deters Bemisia tabaci settlement without altering the predatory orientation of their biological control agents Nesidiocoris tenuis and Sphaerophoria rueppellii

  • Inés Prieto-Ruiz
  • Elisa Garzo
  • Aránzazu Moreno
  • Beatriz Dáder
  • Pilar Medina
  • Elisa Viñuela
  • Alberto FereresEmail author
Original Paper


Ultraviolet (UV) radiation that reaches the earth surface has increased substantially in the past decades, altering insect–plant interactions by directly affecting herbivores behavior or indirectly by modifying plant chemistry and morphogenesis. We evaluated the indirect effect of supplementary UV radiation under glasshouse conditions on Bemisia tabaci settlement, eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) production and its effects on the flight activity of Nesidiocoris tenuis and Sphaerophoria rueppellii. Eggplants were daily radiated with different supplemental UV treatments, A +/B +, A −/B + or A −/B −, during 30, 60 or 90 min for 21 days. The whitefly settlement was assessed immediately after the UV treatments or after 18 extra days on plants kept under regular glasshouse conditions with no further supplemental UV radiation. The number of whitefly settled on plants was counted after 2, 6, 24 and 48 h. Supplementary UV radiation reduced whitefly settlement for all exposure times with alterations on the morphology and increased nitrogen and amino acid content of eggplants, mainly after 90 min of UV radiation exposition. When plants were allowed to recover under regular light conditions, growth traits were similar, and whiteflies showed no preference. Fruit parameters were not negatively altered by supplementary UV radiation. Natural enemy captures per sticky trap were more abundant under A −/B + and A +/B + conditions; however, indirect host preference tests indicated no differences among treatments. In conclusion, supplementary UV radiation could be used to reduce whitefly infestation in glasshouses at the early stages of plant development without detrimental effects on crop yield or beneficial orientation.


UV Whitefly Natural enemies Host plant resistance Fruit production Plant growth 



The authors are indebted to Sandra Pla, Marina Morente, Irene Ontiveros, Andrea Wanumen, Miriam Gurpegui and Ignacio Morales for their assistance in the laboratory experiments. This work was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (AGL2013-47603-C2-1-R to E. Viñuela and P. Medina and AGL2013-47603-C2-2-R to A. Fereres). A. Fereres, A. Moreno, P. Medina and E. Viñuela are members of the Associate unit IVAS (CSIC-UPM): Control of insect vectors of viruses in horticultural sustainable systems.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared that no conflict of interest exists.

Human and animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals (vertebrates) performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Protección VegetalInstituto de Ciencias Agrarias (ICA-CSIC)MadridSpain
  2. 2.Unidad de Protección de Cultivos, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agronómica, Alimentaria y de Biosistemas (ETSIAAB)Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM)MadridSpain
  3. 3.Associate Unit IVAS (CSIC-UPM): Control of Insect Vectors of Viruses in Horticultural Sustainable SystemsMadridSpain

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