Spiroacetals in the Colonization Behaviour of the Coffee Berry Borer: A ‘Push-Pull’ SystemReport as inadecuate

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Coffee berries are known to release several volatile organic compounds, among which is the spiroacetal, conophthorin, an attractant for the coffee berry borer Hypothenemus hampei. Elucidating the effects of other spiroacetals released by coffee berries is critical to understanding their chemo-ecological roles in the host discrimination and colonization process of the coffee berry borer, and also for their potential use in the management of this pest. Here, we show that the coffee berry spiroacetals frontalin and 1,6-dioxaspiro 4.5 decane referred thereafter as brocain, are also used as semiochemicals by the coffee berry borer for host colonization. Bioassays and chemical analyses showed that crowding coffee berry borers from 2 to 6 females per berry, reduced borer fecundity, which appeared to correlate with a decrease in the emission rates of conophthorin and frontalin over time. In contrast, the level of brocain did not vary significantly between borer- uninfested and infested berries. Brocain was attractive at lower doses, but repellent at higher doses while frontalin alone or in a blend was critical for avoidance. Field assays with a commercial attractant comprising a mixture of ethanol and methanol 1∶1, combined with frontalin, confirmed the repellent effect of this compound by disrupting capture rates of H. hampei females by 77% in a coffee plantation. Overall, our results suggest that the levels of frontalin and conophthorin released by coffee berries determine the host colonization behaviour of H. hampei, possibly through a ‘push-pull’ system, whereby frontalin acts as the ‘push’ repellent and conophthorin acting as the ‘pull’ attractant. Furthermore, our results reveal the potential use of frontalin as a repellent for management of this coffee pest.

Author: Teresiah Nyambura Njihia , Juliana Jaramillo , Lucy Murungi, Dickson Mwenda, Benedict Orindi, Hans-Michael Poehling, Baldwyn Tort

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/


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