Genetic variation in recruitment of beneficial soil microorganisms to combat insect herbivory in cabbage


Kris de Kreek, MSc

PhD student at: Wageningen University & Research, Laboratory of Entomology

Supervisors: prof. dr. Marcel Dicke and dr. Karen Kloth

Overall aim of my project:
The aim of this project is to elucidate the intraspecific genetic variation in Brassica oleracea in attracting beneficial soil microorganisms upon herbivore attack to enhance defence against herbivorous insects.

Key Objectives & Expected Results


  • To investigate microbiome recruitment after herbivore insect attack in different B. oleracea accessions and the effect on subsequent herbivore feeding.
  • To assess the effect of herbivore-induced microbiome recruitment on performance of different above- and belowground herbivores.
  • To identify the effect of the recruited microbiome on enhanced plant defence against insect herbivory in B. oleracea accessions.
  • To establish the effect of specific genes in enhanced plant defence on herbivore performance using mutant lines.

Expected Results:

  • A better understanding of the plant-mediated interactions between herbivores and microbiome.
  • A relationship between differences in microbiome composition and induced herbivore resistance in different B. oleracea accessions.
  • Novel resistance mechanisms that play a role in microbiome-enhanced plant defence.