Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Fred Musser

Committee Member

Ashli Brown-Johnson

Committee Member

Blake M. Layton

Committee Member

Stephen L. Meyers

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Agriculture and Life Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology


An evaluation of host-plant resistance to the wireworm-Diabrotica-Systena (WDS) complex of root-feeding insects in sweetpotatoes was performed on a total of 15 cultivars and advanced lines over the course of 4 years (2017-2020). It was found that sweetpotatoes varieties can differ significantly in amount of damage incurred. Several mechanisms of resistance were proposed and tested: periderm toughness, dry weight percentage, and volatile organic chemical defenses. No significant difference was found amongst the varieties tested concerning the physical properties. Chemical analysis was limited in scope but did show some differences between a susceptible variety when compared to a resistant variety in the volatile chemical composition of the foliage. Finally, a commercial kairomone lure with sticky card for Diabroticites was tested for efficacy when compared to sweep net sampling throughout the season. No correlation could be found amongst the methods in terms of number and species of insects caught by each.