Beetles defeat plant defences with microbes

Plants have been tricked into reacting to a microbial attack, rather than that of a chewing herbivore, by Colorado potato beetles.

Plants defend themselves against chewing insects, such as the Colorado Potato beetle, by releasing a substance that suppresses digestion and growth.

However the beetles secrete symbiotic fluid onto the plants containing gut bacteria which begin the digestion process and suppress the plants’ defence mechanism.

The Penn State University research team found that beetles with the bacteria were healthier and grew better.

Read more at Pennsylvania State University