The interaction between host plant resistance and biological control presents opportunities for plant breeders in Africa’s integrated pest management programs

The concept of integrated pest management (IPM) presents a holistic approach to management of pests, optimizing actions associated with at least two pest management tactics without ecological backlash. However, efficient integration of IPM components requires interdisciplinary approach that includes entomologists, ecologists and plant breeders for sustainable plant protection solutions. For instance, there is potential to use and boost the direct and indirect defense systems of plants to enhance biological control in plant protection. If deployed in a well studied and synergistic manner, host plant resistance can give intriguing results for IPM. Host plant resistance (HPR) affects both pests and biological control agents in various ways implying that, plant traits intended for defense against phytophagous insects may affect biological control agents. This presents an opportunity for plant breeders to develop crop varieties suitable for specific biological control agents. Synergies between basal resistance and biological control remain unexplored because plant breeders, entomologists and ecologists work in isolation which limits the potential for exploitation of the benefits of the interaction between host plant resistance and biological control. The possibilities to increase the durability of crop resistance to pests by applying inherent resistance-enhancing measures in combination with biological control are interesting but have received far too little attention by IPM researchers. A collaborative research approach can provide opportunities for IPM integration in Africa. There is need to understand basic biological processes and tritrophic interactions that occur among plants, pests and beneficial species in various crop production systems. The integration of host plant resistance with biological control of arthropod pests can provide effective control against pests in Africa’s cropping systems.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Working document series
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Access restriction: 
Web resource