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Witzgall P.,Chemical Ecology Group | Kirsch P.,APTIV | Cork A.,University of Greenwich
Journal of Chemical Ecology | Year: 2010

The idea of using species-specific behavior-modifying chemicals for the management of noxious insects in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, stored products, and for insect vectors of diseases has been a driving ambition through five decades of pheromone research. Hundreds of pheromones and other semiochemicals have been discovered that are used to monitor the presence and abundance of insects and to protect plants and animals against insects. The estimated annual production of lures for monitoring and mass trapping is on the order of tens of millions, covering at least 10 million hectares. Insect populations are controlled by air permeation and attract-and-kill techniques on at least 1 million hectares. Here, we review the most important and widespread practical applications. Pheromones are increasingly efficient at low population densities, they do not adversely affect natural enemies, and they can, therefore, bring about a long-term reduction in insect populations that cannot be accomplished with conventional insecticides. A changing climate with higher growing season temperatures and altered rainfall patterns makes control of native and invasive insects an increasingly urgent challenge. Intensified insecticide use will not provide a solution, but pheromones and other semiochemicals instead can be implemented for sustainable area-wide management and will thus improve food security for a growing population. Given the scale of the challenges we face to mitigate the impacts of climate change, the time is right to intensify goal-oriented interdisciplinary research on semiochemicals, involving chemists, entomologists, and plant protection experts, in order to provide the urgently needed, and cost-effective technical solutions for sustainable insect management worldwide. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010.

Becher P.G.,Chemical Ecology Group | Bengtsson M.,Chemical Ecology Group | Hansson B.S.,Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology | Witzgall P.,Chemical Ecology Group
Journal of Chemical Ecology | Year: 2010

The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster Meigen (Diptera: Drosophilidae), is a model for how animals sense, discriminate, and respond to chemical signals. However, with D. melanogaster our knowledge of the behavioral activity of olfactory receptor ligands has relied largely on close-range attraction, rather than on long-range orientation behavior. We developed a flight assay to relate chemosensory perception to behavior. Headspace volatiles from vinegar attracted 62% of assayed flies during a 15-min experimental period. Flies responded irrespective of age, sex, and mating state, provided they had been starved. To identify behaviorally relevant chemicals from vinegar, we compared the responses to vinegar and synthetic chemicals. Stimuli were applied by a piezoelectric sprayer at known and constant release rates. Re-vaporized methanol extracts of Super Q-trapped vinegar volatiles attracted as many flies as vinegar. The main volatile component of vinegar, acetic acid, elicited significant attraction as a single compound. Two other vinegar volatiles, 2-phenyl ethanol and acetoin, produced a synergistic effect when added to acetic acid. Geosmin, a microbiological off-flavor, diminished attraction to vinegar. This wind tunnel assay based on a conspicuous and unambiguous behavioral response provides the necessary resolution for the investigation of physiologically and ecologically relevant odors and will become an essential tool for the functional analysis of the D. melanogaster olfactory system. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010.

Trona F.,Research and Innovation Center | Trona F.,Chemical Ecology Group | Anfora G.,Research and Innovation Center | Bengtsson M.,Chemical Ecology Group | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Experimental Biology | Year: 2010

In the codling moth Cydia pomonella (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) plant volatiles attract males and females by upwind flight and synergise the male response to the female-produced sex pheromone, indicating a close relationship between the perception of social and environmental olfactory signals. We have studied the anatomical and functional organisation of the antennal lobe (AL), the primary olfactory centre, of C. pomonella with respect to the integration of sex pheromone and host-plant volatile information. A three-dimensional reconstruction of the glomerular structure of the AL revealed 50±2 and 49±2 glomeruli in males and females, respectively. These glomeruli are functional units involved in the coding of odour quality. The glomerular map of the AL was then integrated with electrophysiological recordings of the response of individual neurons in the AL of males and females to sex pheromone components and behaviourally active plant volatiles. By means of intracellular recordings and stainings, we physiologically characterised ca. 50 neurons in each sex, revealing complex patterns of activation and a wide variation in response dynamics to these test compounds. Stimulation with single chemicals and their two-component blends produced both synergistic and inhibitory interactions in projection neurons innervating ordinary glomeruli and the macroglomerular complex. Our results show that the sex pheromone and plant odours are processed in an across-fibre coding pattern. The lack of a clear segregation between the pheromone and general odour subsystems in the AL of the codling moth suggests a level of interaction that has not been reported from other insects. © 2010.

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