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A general model of hormesis in biological systems and its application to pest management

A general model of hormesis in biological systems and its application to pest management

Tang, Sanyi, Liang, Juhua, Xiang, Changcheng, Xiao, Yanni, Wang, Xia, Wu, Jianhong, Li, Guoping and Cheke, Robert A. ORCID: 0000-0002-7437-1934 (2019) A general model of hormesis in biological systems and its application to pest management. Journal of the Royal Society - Interface, 16 (157):20190468. pp. 1-11. ISSN 1742-5689 (Print), 1742-5662 (Online) (doi:

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Hormesis, a phenomenon whereby exposure to high levels of stressors is inhibitory but low (mild, sublethal and subtoxic) doses are stimulatory, challenges decision-making in the management of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, nutrition and ecotoxicology. In the latter, increasing amounts of a pesticide may lead to upsurges rather than declines of pests, ecological paradoxes that are difficult to predict. Using a novel re-formulation of the Ricker population equation, we show how interactions between intervention strengths and dose timings, dose–response functions and intrinsic factors can model such paradoxes and hormesis. A model with three critical parameters revealed hormetic biphasic dose and dose timing responses, either in a J-shape or an inverted U-shape, yielding a homeostatic change or a catastrophic shift and hormetic effects in many parameter regions. Such effects were enhanced by repeated pulses of low-level stimulations within one generation at different dose timings, thereby reducing threshold levels, maximum responses and inhibition. The model provides insights into the complex dynamics of such systems and a methodology for improved experimental design and analysis, with wide-reaching implications for understanding hormetic effects in ecology and in medical and veterinary treatment decision-making. We hypothesized that the dynamics of a discrete generation pest control system can be determined by various three parameter spaces, some of which reveal the conditions for occurrence of hormesis, and confirmed this by fitting our model to both hormetic data from the literature and to a non-hormetic dataset on pesticidal control of mirid bugs in cotton.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ecological paradox, Ricker equation, Apolygus lucorum, pest control, complex dynamics, stability
Subjects: S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Plant Health Research Group
Last Modified: 12 May 2020 11:11
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: REF 3

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