African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6691

Full Length Research Paper

Association of maize streak virus disease and its vectors (Homoptera: Cicadelidae) with soil macronutrients and altitudes in Kenya

O. E.V. Magenya1*, J. Mueke2 and C. Omwega3      
1Kenya Agricultural research institute, Kisii Regional Research Centre, P .O. Box 523, Kisii, Kenya. 2Department of Zoology, Kenyatta University, P. O. Box 43844-00100, Nairobi Kenya. 3International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, P. O. Box 30772-00100, Nairobi Kenya.  
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 18 September 2009
  •  Published: 11 November 2009


Maize (Zea mays L.) is a staple food for more than 100 million people in Africa. Its production is constraint by maize streak virus (MSV) disease. This study investigated the interrelationships between altitudes and levels of soil macronutrients with MSV disease and its vectors. The influence of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium levels on MSV and on populations of Cicadulina spp.(Homoptera: Cicadellidae) were investigated at six geographically separated maize producing regions in Kenya. Comparisons of numbers of sampledCicadulina spp showed that areas at lower than 1550 m above sea level had significantly more leafhoppers than those at higher altitudes (p < 0.05, SNK). Soilanalysis showed that nitrogen was low (0.06 - 0.12%), phosphorus (13.5 - 37.3 ppm) and potassium adequate (86 - 707 ppm). The yield loss due to MSV expected by the farmers in Oyani was similar to that in Mwea (>40%) and higher than that in Bahari, Muhoroni, Kimilili and Githunguri (<30%) and it correlated positively with numbers of Cicadulina mbila. A significant positive correlation was detected between potassium with C. mbila. This study shows that soil nutrient levels influence MSV vector (Cicadulina spp) and that this relationship is critical during the design of crop protection packages.


Key words: Agro-ecology, Cicadulina, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and elevation.