Pest control compounds targeting insect chemoreceptors: Another silent spring?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


An emerging concept in the ongoing battle against insect pests is that compounds that
influence the behavior of insects by modulating their ability to smell could be developed
by targeting their chemoreceptors. This idea was identified by the annual horizon scan of
global conservation issues as a topic of concern for their 2015 report. Unfortunately, the
publication could only afford a short discussion of the pros and cons of the approach.
Here we review the concept and discuss how it might be best implemented to avoid
potential off-target effects and environmental harm. We describe the first of this class
of compounds, VUAA1, outlining that its highly broad range of potential insect targets
would lead to many of the issues associated with broad-spectrum insecticides. We
also review compounds and approaches targeting the relatively less conserved carbon
dioxide receptor complex and finally highly tuned receptors to conclude that focusing on
species-specific pheromone receptors would result in fewer potential off-target effects.


External organisations
  • Institute of Plant and Food Research
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Agricultural Science
  • Ecology
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


  • insect chemoreceptor, Off-target effects, VUAA1
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb 13
Publication categoryResearch

Related projects

Martin N Andersson, Christer Löfstedt, Bill S. Hansson & Richard D. Newcomb


Project: ResearchInternational collaboration

View all (1)