Special Issue "Plant-Microbe-Invertebrate Pest Interactions"

A special issue of Pathogens (ISSN 2076-0817). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Pathogens".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Aurelio Ciancio
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Istituto per la Protezione Sostenibile delle Piante, CNR, Bari, Italy
Interests: plant protection; invertebrate pathology; rhizosphere microbiology; soil ecology
Dr. Isabella Pentimone
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CNR, Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection
Interests: Gene expression; Plant–endophyte interactions; Transcriptomics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The exploitation of beneficial microorganisms is considered a safe alternative to pesticides for crop protection and management. Many practical and social issues underpin this assumption, including human safety, environment and biodiversity protection, cost of conventional technologies, and insurgence of resistance in pests. There are, however, few examples of successful exploitation of invertebrate pathogens or parasites, in contrast to the still large use of pesticides, worldwide. A notable exception is represented by Bt-based products.

Two concepts are recognized at the base of plant protection and pest management: 1) There are no living organisms on earth that can be considered free from disease, antagonism, or competition, and 2) Crops represent the first permanent change induced by man, on a global scale. The cultivated field is the first environment modified by man through sowing, deforestation, soil reclamation, and selection of cropped plants. All these actions still affect plant biodiversity and their distribution in space and, indirectly, the distribution of pests and of their associated microbiomes. Yet, considering that only an estimated 10% of the whole microbial diversity has been thus far identified and characterized on earth, the amount of information produced on the biology, diversity, and ecology of many invertebrate-associated microorganisms is far from exhaustive. Data on interacting species and processes are needed, on many pests and from many environments.

The evolution and/or conservation of good agricultural practices also require strategies based on monitoring and modeling the behavior and biological cycle of parasites and pathogens. From this perspective, plant pests and diseases can be considered not only as the factors responsible for productivity losses in agriculture but also as the last and visible effect of changes originating in the genetics of crops (biodiversity/monocultures), transport (epidemics/invasive species), human actions (climate changes), movement of goods (globalization), land management, or in relation to loss of biodiversity and mass extinctions. Following the spread and modification of their distribution boundaries, many alien species are now able to reach and colonize new cultivated areas. In the absence of natural indigenous control agents, they represent a threat to many production systems. Any new information on their ecology and adaptation to local microbial antagonists and symbiont communities is, therefore, welcome.

Advances in the last decades concerning the application of mass sequencing technologies allowed an unprecedented capacity to study in detail the complex interactions that link host and pathogens, including the sophisticated evolutionary adaptations of obligate symbionts or of pest-interacting endophytic species. The focus of this Special Issue is on highlighting the role of microbial parasites and pathogens in their tri-trophic interaction with plants and invertebrate pests such as insects, nematodes, and mites. Our goal is to gather contributions describing results from original experimental work, as well as biogeographic reports, on new host–parasite associations and the application of forecasting and descriptive models, as well as molecular studies on pathogens and symbionts. Reviews offering new perspectives, including omic-based and molecular ecology data on the biology of invasive species and associated microbiomes, are also welcome. 

Dr. Aurelio Ciancio
Dr. Isabella Pentimone
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Pathogens is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • biocontrol
  • fungi
  • gene expression
  • endophytes
  • endosymbionts
  • insect pathogens
  • invasive species
  • invertebrate pathology
  • microbiome
  • mite pathogens
  • modeling
  • nematode parasites
  • plant–endophyte–pest interactions
  • population dynamics
  • rhizosphere microbiology
  • soil food webs
  • transciptomics

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Protein Elicitor PeBL1 of Brevibacillus laterosporus Enhances Resistance Against Myzus persicae in Tomato
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010057 - 14 Jan 2020
Myzus persicae, a destructive aphid of tomato usually managed by chemical pesticides, is responsible for huge annual losses in agriculture. In the current work, a protein elicitor, PeBL1, was investigated for its capacity to induce a defense response against M. persicae in [...] Read more.
Myzus persicae, a destructive aphid of tomato usually managed by chemical pesticides, is responsible for huge annual losses in agriculture. In the current work, a protein elicitor, PeBL1, was investigated for its capacity to induce a defense response against M. persicae in tomato. Population growth rates of M. persicae (second and third generation) decreased with PeBL1 treatments as compared with controls. In a host selection assay, M. persicae showed preference for colonizing control plants as compared to tomato seedlings treated with PeBL1. Tomato leaves treated with PeBL1 gave rise to a hazardous surface environment for M. persicae due to formation of trichomes and wax. Jasmonic acid (JA), salicylic acid (SA), and ethylene (ET) showed significant accumulation in tomato seedlings treated by PeBL1. The following results showed that PeBL1 significantly modified the tomato leaf surface structure to reduce reproduction and deter colonization by M. persicae. Defense processes also included activation of JA, SA, and ET pathways. The study provides evidence for use of PeBL1 in the protection of tomato from M. persicae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Microbe-Invertebrate Pest Interactions)
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