A part of a book.
Nature, evolution and characterisation of rhizospheric chemical exudates affecting root herbivores
Title of the book
Behaviour and physiology of root herbivores
Address of publication
Johnson S.N., Hiltpold I., Turlings T.C.J.
Advances in Insect Physiology
Similar to aboveground herbivores, root-feeding insects must locate and identify suitable resources. In the darkness of soil, they mainly rely on root chemical exudations and, therefore, have evolved specific behaviours. Because of their impact on crop yield, most of our knowledge in belowground chemical ecology is biased towards soil-dwelling insect pests. Yet the increasing literature on volatile-mediated interactions in the ground underpins the great importance of chemical signalling in this ecosystem and its potential in pest control. Here, we explore the ecology and physiology of these chemically based interactions. An evolutionary approach reveals interesting patterns in the response of insects to particular classes of volatile or water-soluble organic compounds commonly emitted by roots. Food web analyses reasonably support that volatiles are used as long-range cues whereas water-soluble molecules serve in host acceptance/rejection by the insect; however, data are still scarce. As a case study, the chemical ecology of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera is discussed and applications of belowground signalling in pest management are examined. Soil chemical ecology is an expanding field of research and will certainly be a hub of our understanding of soil communities and subsequently of the management of belowground ecosystem services.
Web of science
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