Disruption of Phthorimaea operculella (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) oviposition by the application of host plant volatiles

Authors

  • Gianfranco Anfora,

    1. Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, San Michele all'Adige, Trentino, Italy
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  • Silvia Vitagliano,

    1. Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy
    2. Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bolzano, Bolzano, Italy
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  • Mattias C Larsson,

    1. Chemical Ecology, Department of Plant Protection Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden
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  • Peter Witzgall,

    1. Chemical Ecology, Department of Plant Protection Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden
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  • Marco Tasin,

    1. Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, San Michele all'Adige, Trentino, Italy
    2. Chemical Ecology, Department of Plant Protection Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden
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  • Giacinto S Germinara,

    1. Department of the Sciences of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy
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  • Antonio De Cristofaro

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy
    • Correspondence to: Antonio De Cristofaro, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences, University of Molise, via De Sanctis, 86100 Campobasso (CB), Italy. E-mail: decrist@unimol.it

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Phthorimaea operculella is a key pest of potato. The authors characterised the P. operculella olfactory system, selected the most bioactive host plant volatiles and evaluated their potential application in pest management. The electrophysiological responses of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) housed in long sensilla trichodea of P. operculella to plant volatiles and the two main sex pheromone components were evaluated by the single-cell recording (SCR) technique. The four most SCR-active volatiles were tested in a laboratory oviposition bioassay and under storage warehouse conditions.

RESULTS

The sensitivity of sensilla trichodea to short-chained aldehydes and alcohols and the existence of ORNs tuned to pheromones in females were characterised. Male recordings revealed at least two types of ORN, each of which typically responded to one of the two pheromone components. Hexanal, octanal, nonanal and 1-octen-3-ol significantly disrupted the egg-laying behaviour in a dose-dependent manner. Octanal reduced the P. operculella infestation rate when used under storage conditions.

CONCLUSIONS

This work provides new information on the perception of plant volatiles and sex pheromones by P. operculella. Laboratory and warehouse experiments show that the use of hexanal, octanal, nonanal and 1-octen-3-ol as host recognition disruptants and/or oviposition deterrents for P. operculella control appears to be a promising strategy. © 2013 The Authors. Pest Management Science published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry.

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