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Keywords:

  • citrus greening;
  • dimethyl disulphide;
  • guava;
  • huanglongbing;
  • secondary metabolites

Abstract

The Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, vectors the causal pathogen of huanglongbing (HLB), which is likely the most important disease affecting worldwide citrus production. Interplanting citrus with guava, Psidium guajava L., was reported to reduce D. citri populations and incidence of HLB. We describe a series of investigations on the response of D. citri to citrus volatiles with and without guava leaf volatiles and to synthetic dimethyl disulphide (DMDS), in laboratory olfactometers and in the field. Volatiles from guava leaves significantly inhibited attraction of D. citri to normally attractive host-plant (citrus) volatiles. A similar level of inhibition was recorded when synthetic DMDS was co-released with volatiles from citrus leaves. In addition, the volatile mixture emanating from a combination of intact citrus and intact guava leaves induced a knock-down effect on adult D. citri. Compounds similar to DMDS including dipropyl disulphide, ethyl-1-propyl disulphide, and diethyl disulphide did not affect the behavioural response of D. citri to attractive citrus host plant volatiles. Head-space volatile analyses were conducted to compare sulphur volatile profiles of citrus and guava, used in our behavioural assays, with a gas chromatography-pulsed flame photometric detector. DMDS, produced by wounded guava in our olfactometer assays, was not produced by similarly wounded citrus. The airborne concentration of DMDS that induced the behavioural effect in the 4-choice olfactometer was 107 pg/ml. In a small plot field experiment, populations of D. citri were significantly reduced by deployment of synthetic DMDS from polyethylene vials compared with untreated control plots. Our results verify that guava leaf volatiles inhibit the response of D. citri to citrus host plant volatiles and suggest that the induced compound, DMDS, may be partially responsible for this effect. Also, we show that field deployment of DMDS reduces densities of D. citri and thus may have potential as a novel control strategy.