Evaluating the influence of plant defenses on prey quality as an opportunity to enhance biological control in agroecosystems

Victoria M. Pocius, Mônica F. Kersch-Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


To ensure sustainable food production within agroecosystems, effective pest control is of utmost importance. One critical component of integrated pest management is biological control. The attraction, retention, and persistence of natural enemies within cropping systems are key factors for the success and effectiveness of biological control. Despite great efforts to attract and augment natural enemies in agroecosystems, little is known about the retention and persistence of their populations after they arrive at a crop field. Plant defensive traits play a critical role in shaping herbivore population dynamics, yet their impact on the structure of carnivorous arthropod communities and their contribution in boosting the success of biological control efforts remains understudied. Here, we discuss the role of plant defenses in retaining natural enemy communities by influencing the quality of herbivorous pests as prey for their natural enemies. These bottom-up effects of host-plant defenses on prey quality are often overlooked in the development of pest management strategies. However, these effects could serve as the foundation for novel applications of plant defenses in pest management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105515
JournalBiological Control
StatePublished - Jun 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science

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