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Current Opinion in Insect Science
Volume 44, 2021, Pages 23-34

Volatile microbial semiochemicals and insect perception at flowers

AmberCrowley-Gall1,3, Caitlin CRering2,3, Arthur BRudolph2, Rachel LVannette1, John JBeck2,4

Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of California Davis, 43 Briggs Hall, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Many plant-associated microbial communities produce volatile signals that influence insect responses, yet the impact of floral microorganisms has received less attention than other plant microbiomes. Floral microorganisms alter plant and floral odors by adding their own emissions or modifying plant volatiles. These contextual and microbe species-specific changes in floral signaling are detectable by insects and can modify their behavior. Opportunities for future work in floral systems include identifying specific microbial semiochemicals that underlie insect behavioral responses and examining if insect species vary in their responses to microbial volatiles. Examining if documented patterns are consistent across diverse plant–microbe–insect interactions and in realistic plant-based studies will improve our understanding of how microbes mediate pollination interactions in complex system.

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