New frontiers in belowground ecology for plant protection from root-feeding insects

Johnson, Scott N. and Benefer, Carly M. and Frew, Adam ORCID: and Griffiths, Bryan S. and Hartley, Susan E. and Karley, Alison J. and Rasmann, Sergio and Schumann, Mario and Sonnemann, Illja and Robert, Christelle A. M. (2016) New frontiers in belowground ecology for plant protection from root-feeding insects. Applied Soil Ecology, 108. pp. 96-107. ISSN 0929-1393


Herbivorous insect pests living in the soil represent a significant challenge to food security given their persistence, the acute damage they cause to plants and the difficulties associated with managing their populations. Ecological research effort into rhizosphere interactions has increased dramatically in the last decade and we are beginning to understand, in particular, the ecology of how plants defend themselves against soil-dwelling pests. In this review, we synthesise information about four key ecological mechanisms occurring in the rhizosphere or surrounding soil that confer plant protection against root herbivores. We focus on root tolerance, root resistance via direct physical and chemical defences, particularly via acquisition of silicon-based plant defences, integration of plant mutualists (microbes and entomopathogenic nematodes, EPNs) and the influence of soil history and feedbacks. Their suitability as management tools, current limitations for their application, and the opportunities for development are evaluated. We identify opportunities for synergy between these aspects of rhizosphere ecology, such as mycorrhizal fungi negatively affecting pests at the root-interface but also increasing plant uptake of silicon, which is also known to reduce herbivory. Finally, we set out research priorities for developing potential novel management strategies.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 37285
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2019 05:54
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2019 05:16
Uncontrolled Keywords: ecological applications; belowground herbivores; rhizosphere; root-feeding insects; root herbivory; soils
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050303 Soil Biology
06 Biological Sciences > 0607 Plant Biology > 060799 Plant Biology not elsewhere classified
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4106 Soil sciences > 410603 Soil biology
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3108 Plant biology > 310899 Plant biology not elsewhere classified
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960499 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI:

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only