Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi reduce canegrub performance via multiple mechanisms including increased silicon concentrations

Adam Frew, Jeff R. Powell, Peter G. Allsopp, Nader Sallam, Scott N. Johnson

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


As below ground herbivores and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi share the soil environment, there is potentially strong selection pressure for AM fungi to support plant defences against root herbivores. AM fungi negatively impact root feeding insects, yet the mechanisms remain unknown. Plant silicon (Si) is an effective defence against root feeding insects, and AM fungi have been observed to increase Si in plants. This highlights the potential role of Si within defences against root herbivores mediated by AM fungi.
We grew sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrids) in high and low Si soils, associated with native AM fungal communities, a commercial AM fungal community or with no AM fungi. Canegrub (Dermolepida albohirtum) performance was measured in a feeding assay.
Within low Si soil, both commercial and native AM communities reduced canegrub growth rates by 107 and 81%, respectively, while increasing root Si concentrations by 70% and 41%, respectively. Within high Si soil, AM fungi had no impact on plant Si concentrations or canegrub growth.
Our evidence suggests the negative impacts of AM fungi on root herbivores are associated with an increase in plant Si, when soil Si is limited. The results also highlight that AM fungi can impact root herbivores through other mechanisms independent of Si, therefore further research is required to better understand this complex interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event39th Annual Conference of the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists: ASSCT 2017 - Pullman Cairns International, Cairns, Australia
Duration: 03 May 201705 May 2017 (Conference website)


Conference39th Annual Conference of the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists
Abbreviated titlePlatforms, Synergies and Innovation
OtherWe are celebrating 88 years since the inception of the Queensland Society of Sugar Cane Technologists and 40 years since this society became the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists. During that period Australia sugar industry has been recognised as leaders in the development of world best practice in both agricultural and manufacturing production. As such the 40th annual ASSCT Conference will be held in Mackay from the 18th to 20th April 2018 at the Mackay Entertainment & Convention Centre. The theme for the conference is “Platforms, Synergies and Innovation”. The 2018 conference will see the continuation of ‘Sugar week’ – a week of sugarcane-related activities. This will comprise a single industry information day (Tuesday 17th April, devoted to training, demonstration of new technologies and sharing of useful information) plus the conference (18th to 20th) which will remain the pinnacle of the week. It is hoped that Sugar week will continue to develop, providing greater opportunity for industry technologists and industry personnel to interact in areas not directly related to the reporting of research results. An information day exploits the opportunity provided by the gathering of leading technologists from around the country and promises to provide an even better value proposition for those attending the conference. More information will be available on the ASSCT website at a later. Our industry continues to face ongoing challenges and the conference theme of “Platforms, Synergies and Innovation” will provide delegates with an opportunity to engage on topics that will help us challenge the paradigm of our industry and providing a pathway to success. Our master of ceremonies for the week is the well-known Scott Hillier (Creek to Coast). One of the keynote speakers for the conference will be Professor Chris Greig. Chris leads the University of Queensland Energy Initiative as well as the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation. Chris will provide us an overview of the energy industry and insight into the future. A second key note speaker will present the topic of “platform” technology in society and potentially in our industry. We look forward to these presentations.
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi reduce canegrub performance via multiple mechanisms including increased silicon concentrations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this