Spider mites perform worse on tomato plants infested by the endophytic fungus Fusarium solani strain K


Abstract: Spider mite – plant – microbe interactions are only rarely addressed despite theimportance of spider mites as pests of major crops as well as the need for alternative methodsto chemical control for the suppression of their populations. Nevertheless, beneficialmicroorganisms can be promising biological control agents for use in Integrated PestManagement programs. In the present study, we assessed the efficiency of Fusarium solanistrain K (FsK), an endophytic fungus previously shown to confer resistance against plantpathogens, on the performance of the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae. We foundthat spider mites performed worse on plants infested with the fungus, with no effect on plantgrowth parameters. Furthermore, inoculated plants were more attractive to Macrolophuspygmaeus, a natural enemy of spider mites. Our results highlight the role of FsK in promotingplant growth but also protecting plants from spider mites in addition to pathogens.

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