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The prospect of applying chemical elicitors and plant strengtheners to enhance the biological control of crop pests

Islam S. Sobhy, Matthias Erb, Yonggen Lou & Ted Turlings

Résumé An imminent food crisis reinforces the need for novel strategies to increase crop yields worldwide. Effective control of pest insects should be part of such strategies, preferentially with reduced negative impact on the environment and optimal protection and utilization of existing biodiversity. Enhancing the presence and efficacy of native biological control agents could be one such strategy. Plant strengthener is a generic term for several commercially available compounds or mixtures of compounds that can be applied to cultivated plants in order to 'boost their vigour, resilience and performance'. Studies into the consequences of boosting plant resistance against pests and diseases on plant volatiles have found a surprising and dramatic increase in the plants' attractiveness to parasitic wasps. Here, we summarize the results from these studies and present new results from assays that illustrate the great potential of two commercially available resistance elicitors. We argue that plant strengtheners may currently be the best option to enhance the attractiveness of cultivated plants to biological control agents. Other options, such as the genetic manipulation of the release of specific volatiles may offer future solutions, but in most systems, we still miss fundamental knowledge on which key attractants should be targeted for this approach.
   
Mots-clés crop protection, biological control, plant strengtheners, elicitors, plant volatiles, parasitoids, parasitoid anagrus-nilaparvatae, systemic acquired-resistance, induced, volatile emissions, feeding 9 billion, beneficial insects, methyl, salicylate, predatory mite, field-evaluation, maize volatiles, host, selection
   
Citation Sobhy, I. S., Erb, M., Lou, Y., & Turlings, T. (2014). The prospect of applying chemical elicitors and plant strengtheners to enhance the biological control of crop pests. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 369(1639), 1471-2970.
   
Type Article de périodique (Anglais)
Date de publication 2014
Nom du périodique Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
Volume 369
Numéro 1639
Pages 1471-2970