Potential for the use of elicitors of plant resistance in arthropod management programs

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Plants protect themselves from arthropod herbivores both directly, by expressing biochemical and morphological traits that interfere with herbivore development or behavior, and indirectly, by facilitating the action of natural enemies of herbivores. These direct and indirect resistance mechanisms are not always expressed at maximal levels by plants, but rather can be induced to higher levels by a variety of stimuli, most notably prior herbivory. The recent discovery of chemical elicitors of induced responses has led to interest in manipulating the inducible responses of plants for crop protection. Applications of elicitors of induced responses made at appropriate times during the growing season of a crop have the potential of activating both direct and indirect mechanisms of plant resistance and thereby simultaneously augmenting host-plant resistance and biological control. This strategy may serve as an important component of a multifaceted, ecologically-based pest management program and is unlikely to precipitate the rapid evolution of countermeasures by target pests. However, this strategy will not be appropriate in all crops or against all arthropod pests. The conditions under which the use of an elicitor is likely to be successful are discussed, and examples of the successful use of elicitors are reviewed. Arch. Insect Biochem. Physiol. 51:222-235, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology

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