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Cheseto X.,Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology | Ndung'u M.,Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology | Teal P.E.A.,Chemistry Research Unit
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Insects are increasingly being recognized not only as a source of food to feed the ever growing world population but also as potential sources of new products and therapeutic agents, among which are sterols. In this study, we sought to profile sterols and their derivatives present in the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria, focusing on those with potential importance as dietary and therapeutic components for humans. Using coupled gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), we analyzed and compared the quantities of sterols in the different sections of the gut and tissues of the locust. In the gut, we identified 34 sterols which showed a patchy distribution, but with the highest composition in the foregut (55%) followed by midgut (31%) and hindgut (14%). Fed ad libitum on wheat seedlings, five sterols unique to the insect were detected. These sterols were identified as 7-dehydrocholesterol, desmosterol, fucosterol, (3β, 5α) cholesta-8, 14, 24-trien-3-ol, 4, 4-dimethyl, and (3β, 20R) cholesta-5, 24-dien-3, 20-diol with the first three having known health benefits in humans. Incubation of the fore-, mid- and hindgut with cholesterol-[4-13C] yielded eight derivatives, three of these were detected in the gut of the desert locust after it had consumed the vegetative diet but were not detected in the diet. Our study shows that the desert locust ingests phytosterols from a vegetative diet and, amplifies and metabolizes them into derivatives with potential salutary benefits and we discuss our findings in this context. © 2015, Public Library of Science. All rights reserved. Source


Nino E.L.,Pennsylvania State University | Malka O.,Tel Aviv University | Hefetz A.,Tel Aviv University | Teal P.,Chemistry Research Unit | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Insect Physiology | Year: 2012

Honey bee colonies consist of tens of thousands of workers and a single reproductive queen that produces a pheromone blend which maintains colony organization. Previous studies indicated that the insemination quantity and volume alter queen mandibular pheromone profiles. In our 11-month long field study we show that workers are more attracted to high-volume versus low-volume inseminated queens, however, there were no significant differences between treatments in the number of queen cells built by workers in preparation for supersedure. Workers exposed to low-volume inseminated queens initiated production of queen-like esters in their Dufour's glands, but there were no significant difference in the amount of methyl farnesoate and juvenile hormone in worker hemolymph. Lastly, queen overwintering survival was unexpectedly lower in high-volume inseminated queens. Our results suggest that the queen insemination volume could ultimately affect colony health and productivity. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Loeb G.M.,Cornell University | Cha D.H.,Cornell University | Hesler S.P.,Cornell University | Linn Jr. C.E.,Cornell University | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Entomology | Year: 2011

For some Lepidopteran pests, such as the grape berry moth Paralobesia viteana (Clemens), poor correlation between males captured in traps baited with sex pheromone and oviposition activities of female moths has called into question the value of pheromone-based monitoring for these species. As an alternative, we compared the capture of female and male grape berry moth in panel traps baited with synthetic host volatiles with captures of males in pheromone-baited wing traps over two growing seasons in two blocks of grapes in a commercial vineyard in central New York. Lures formulated in hexane to release either 7-component or 13-component host volatile blends captured significantly more male and female grape berry moth on panel traps compared with the numbers captured on panel traps with hexane-only lures. For both sexes over both years, the same or more moths were captured in panel traps along the forest edge compared with the vineyard edge early in the season but this pattern was reversed by mid-season. Male moths captured in pheromone-baited wing traps also displayed this temporal shift in location. There was a significant positive correlation between captured males and females on panel traps although not between females captured on panel traps and males captured in pheromone-baited traps for both years suggesting pheromone traps do not accurately reflect either female or male activity. Male moths captured in pheromone traps indicated a large peak early in each season corresponding to first flight followed by lower and variable numbers that did not clearly indicate second and third flights. Panel trap data, combining males and females, indicated three distinct flights, with some overlap between the second and third flights. Peak numbers of moths captured on panel traps matched well with predictions of a temperature-based phenology model, especially in 2008. Although effective, panel traps baited with synthetic host lures were time consuming to deploy and maintain and captured relatively few moths making them impractical, in the current design, for commercial purposes. © 2011 Entomological Society of America. Source


Cha D.H.,Cornell University | Linn Jr. C.E.,Cornell University | Teal P.E.A.,Chemistry Research Unit | Zhang A.,Biocontrol | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

We investigated the role that the ratio and concentration of ubiquitous plant volatiles play in providing host specificity for the diet specialist grape berry moth Paralobesia viteana (Clemens) in the process of locating its primary host plant Vitis sp. In the first flight tunnel experiment, using a previously identified attractive blend with seven common but essential components ("optimized blend"), we found that doubling the amount of six compounds singly [(E)- & (Z)-linalool oxides, nonanal, decanal, β-caryophyllene, or germacrene-D], while keeping the concentration of other compounds constant, significantly reduced female attraction (average 76% full and 59% partial upwind flight reduction) to the synthetic blends. However, doubling (E)-4,8-dimethyl 1,3,7-nonatriene had no effect on female response. In the second experiment, we manipulated the volatile profile more naturally by exposing clonal grapevines to Japanese beetle feeding. In the flight tunnel, foliar damage significantly reduced female landing on grape shoots by 72% and full upwind flight by 24%. The reduction was associated with two changes: (1) more than a two-fold increase in total amount of the seven essential volatile compounds, and (2) changes in their relative ratios. Compared to the optimized blend, synthetic blends mimicking the volatile ratio emitted by damaged grapevines resulted in an average of 87% and 32% reduction in full and partial upwind orientation, respectively, and the level of reduction was similar at both high and low doses. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the specificity of a ubiquitous volatile blend is determined, in part, by the ratio of key volatile compounds for this diet specialist. However, P. viteana was also able to accommodate significant variation in the ratio of some compounds as well as the concentration of the overall mixture. Such plasticity may be critical for phytophagous insects to successfully eavesdrop on variable host plant volatile signals. Source


Amsalem E.,Pennsylvania State University | Teal P.,Chemistry Research Unit | Grozinger C.M.,Pennsylvania State University | Hefetz A.,Tel Aviv University
Journal of Experimental Biology | Year: 2014

Juvenile hormone (JH) is an important regulator of development and physiology in insects. While in many insect species, including bumble bees, JH functions as gonadotropin in adults, in some highly eusocial insects its role has shifted to regulate social behavior including division of labor, dominance and aggression. Studying JH functions across social insect species is important for understanding the evolution of sociality; however, these studies have been limited because of the inability to reduce JH levels without surgically removing its glandular source, the corpora allata. Precocene is known to inhibit JH biosynthesis in several non-social insects, but has been poorly studied in social insects. Here, we tested whether precocene-I can effectively reduce JH levels in Bombus terrestris workers, and examined its effects on their physiology and behavior. Precocene-I treatment of three-worker groups decreased JH titer and ovarian activation, irrespective of the bees' dominance rank within the group, and was remedied by JH replacement therapy. Precocene-I also decreased aggressiveness and increased ester-sterility signal production; these changes were rank-dependent, and affected mainly the most reproductive and the least aggressive workers, respectively, and could not be remedied by JH replacement therapy. These results clearly confirm the role of JH as a gonadotropin and mediator of aggression in B. terrestris, and indicate that JH effects are associated with worker dominance rank. The ability to chemically reduce JH titer provides us with a non-intrusive method to probe the evolutionary changes associated with JH and the hormonal mechanisms that are associated with reproduction and behavior in social insects. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd. Source

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