Non-host volatile blend optimization for forest protection against the European Spruce Bark Beetle, Ips typographus

Rikard C Unelius, Christian Schiebe, Björn Bohman, Martin N Andersson, Fredrik Schlyter

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Conifer feeding bark beetles (Coleoptera, Curculionidae, Scolytinae) pose a serious economic threat to forest production.
Volatiles released by non-host angiosperm plants (so called non-host volatiles, NHV) have been shown to reduce the risk of
attack by many bark beetle species, including the European spruce bark beetle, Ips typographus. However, the most active
blend for I. typographus, containing three green leaf volatiles (GLVs) in addition to the key compounds trans-conophthorin
(tC) and verbenone, has been considered too expensive for use in large-scale management. To lower the cost and improve
the applicability of NHV, we aim to simplify the blend without compromising its anti-attractant potency. Since the key
compound tC is expensive in pure form, we also tested a crude version: technical grade trans-conophthorin (T-tC). In
another attempt to find a more cost effective substitute for tC, we evaluated a more readily synthesized analog: dehydroconophthorin
(DHC). Our results showed that 1-hexanol alone could replace the three-component GLV blend containing 1-
hexanol, (3Z)-hexen-1-ol, and (2E)-hexen-1-ol. Furthermore, the release rate of tC could be reduced from 5 mg/day to
0.5 mg/day in a blend with 1-hexanol and (–)-verbenone without compromising the anti-attractant activity. We further
show that T-tC was comparable with tC, whereas DHC was a less effective anti-attractant. DHC also elicited weaker
physiological responses in the tC-responding olfactory receptor neuron class, providing a likely mechanistic explanation for
its weaker anti-attractive effect. Our results suggest a blend consisting of (–)-verbenone, 1-hexanol and technical transconophthorin
as a cost-efficient anti-attractant for forest protection against I. typographus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e85381:1-10
JournalPLoS ONE
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Zoology


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