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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

How should plant resistance to herbivores be measured?

Stenberg, Johan A.; Muola, Anne


Plant resistance is normally defined as the heritable ability of plants to escape attacking enemies, partially or fully, thus minimizing the amount of damage experienced by the plant (Painter, 1951; Mitchell et al., 2016). Plant resistance is pivotal in preventing crop yield loss to herbivores, and, thus, it is important to breed for (Hill et al., 2012). As many national and intergovernmental bodies have firmly endorsed Integrated Pest Management as the new paradigm for plant protection, the importance of resistant varieties is becoming even more important. However, measuring resistance is seldom straightforward, and many different approaches are being used, thus affecting biological interpretations. Choosing an appropriate measure for plant resistance is essential for engineering future varieties for improved plant production security, with less dependence on chemical pesticides. Here we suggest that the method selected to measure resistance should depend on the longevity of the crop (or culture) and the generation time of the herbivore.


antibiosis; antixenosis; herbivory; integrated pest management; nonpreference; plant breeding; plant defense; resistance breeding

Published in

Frontiers in Plant Science
2017, volume: 8, article number: 663

Authors' information

Stenberg, Johan A. (Stenberg, Johan A)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Protection Biology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
University of Turku

Associated SLU-program

SLU Network Plant Protection

UKÄ Subject classification

Genetics and Breeding
Agricultural Science

Publication Identifiers


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