Author(s): Babu A, Hern A, Dorn S
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Abstract Bruchid pests such as Callosobruchus chinensis (Linnaeus) endanger stored legume seeds throughout the tropical belt. The chemical composition of the headspace volatiles from healthy and fourth instar larvae-infested cowpea seeds were identified, characterized, and compared using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Y-tube olfactometer bioassays were performed to evaluate the effect of these chemicals on the orientation of conspecific adult females. Analysis of volatiles released from healthy and infested seeds revealed qualitative differences for three out of the 17 compounds identified. Dimethyl disulphide, isobutenyl methyl ketone and methyl trisulphide were found only in the blend emitted from infested but not from healthy seeds. Quantitative differences were apparent for tridecane which was released in larger amounts from infested seeds. While volatiles collected from healthy seeds were attractive to female bruchids, volatiles collected from infested seeds were repellent. To test the hypothesis that the qualitative differences in the chemical composition found may be due to insect-derived components, the volatiles from frass and fourth instar larvae combined were analysed. These volatiles contained both of the sulphides emitted from infested seed but not from healthy seeds. Although a limited induction of volatiles from cowpea seeds cannot be excluded, it is postulated that behavioural differences of the female weevils are largely due to insect-derived semiochemicals. The potential use of such semiochemicals as part of an integrated pest management strategy is discussed.
This article was published in Bull Entomol Res
and referenced in Journal of Agricultural Science and Food Research