Full Papers


, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 81-87

First online:

Sex pheromone conversion and degradation in antennae of the silkworm mothBombyx mori L.

  • G. KasangAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie
  • , M. NichollsAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie
  • , L. von ProffAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie

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In living antennae of the silkworm mothBombyx mori L. the pheromone compound (E, Z)-10,12-hexadecadienol and hexadecanol are enzymatically converted to their corresponding fatty aldehydes, acids and long-chain fatty acid esters. The pheromone is completely degraded at high rates in the antennae of freshly hatched moths. The polar volatile [3H]metabolites exclusively consist of tritiated water. The half-life of the pheromone is about 2.5 min in males and 0.5 min in females. Drying inactivates the enzymes responsible for pheromone oxidation.

Key words

Lepidoptera Bombyx mori L moths antennae pheromones metabolites enzymes