Abstract: Elicitors are compounds, which activate chemical defences in plants. Various biosynthetic pathways are activated in treated plants depending on the compound used. The most intensively studied elicitor for manipulating defence pathways in plants is methyl jasmonate, which modifies e.g. the production of terpenoids, the main constituents of conifer oleoresin. Other commonly tested chemical elicitors are salicylic acid, methyl salicylate and benzothiadiazole, which affect production of phenolic compounds in plants. Both jasmonate-based and salicylate-based elicitors have been shown to have suppressive effects on fungal diseases and insect pests of plants. So far, knowledge regarding the efficiency of elicitor treatments for enhancing pest and fungal disease resistance of conifer seedlings is very limited. We review current knowledge of the effect of these elicitor compounds on pest and disease resistance in plants, and we analyze the potential pros and cons of using elicitors for future pest management strategies in forest nurseries.
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