Tritrophic Interactions: Microbe-Mediated Plant Effects on Insect Herbivores

Ikkei Shikano, Cristina Rosa, Ching Wen Tan, Gary W. Felton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


It is becoming abundantly clear that the microbes associated with plants and insects can profoundly influence plant-insect interactions. Here, we focus on recent findings and propose directions for future research that involve microbe-induced changes to plant defenses and nutritive quality as well as the consequences of these changes for the behavior and fitness of insect herbivores. Insect (herbivore and parasitoid)-associated microbes can favor or improve insect fitness by suppressing plant defenses and detoxifying defensive phytochemicals. Phytopathogens can influence or manipulate insect behavior and fitness by altering plant quality and defense. Plant-beneficial microbes can promote plant growth and influence plant nutritional and phytochemical composition that can positively or negatively influence insect fitness. Lastly, we suggest that entomopathogens have the potential to influence plant defenses directly as endophytes or indirectly by altering insect physiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-331
Number of pages19
JournalAnnual Review of Phytopathology
StatePublished - Aug 4 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science


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