Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 37, Issue 7, pp 741–750

Identification of Semiochemicals Released by Cotton, Gossypium hirsutum, Upon Infestation by the Cotton Aphid, Aphis gossypii


  • Mahabaleshwar Hegde
    • Department of Agricultural EntomologyUniversity of Agricultural Sciences
  • Janser N. Oliveira
    • Departamento de FitotecniaUniversidade Federal do Ceará (UFC)
  • Joao G. da Costa
    • Embrapa Tabuleiros Costeiros, Tabuleiro do Martins
  • Ervino Bleicher
    • Departamento de FitotecniaUniversidade Federal do Ceará (UFC)
  • Antonio E. G. Santana
    • Instituto de Química e BiotecnologiaUniversidade Federal de Alagoas
  • Toby J. A. Bruce
    • Biological Chemistry DepartmentRothamsted Research
  • John Caulfield
    • Biological Chemistry DepartmentRothamsted Research
  • Sarah Y. Dewhirst
    • Biological Chemistry DepartmentRothamsted Research
  • Christine M. Woodcock
    • Biological Chemistry DepartmentRothamsted Research
  • John A. Pickett
    • Biological Chemistry DepartmentRothamsted Research
    • Biological Chemistry DepartmentRothamsted Research

DOI: 10.1007/s10886-011-9980-x

Cite this article as:
Hegde, M., Oliveira, J.N., da Costa, J.G. et al. J Chem Ecol (2011) 37: 741. doi:10.1007/s10886-011-9980-x


The cotton aphid, Aphis gossypii (Homoptera: Aphididae), is increasing in importance as a pest worldwide since the introduction of Bt-cotton, which controls lepidopteran but not homopteran pests. The chemical ecology of interactions between cotton, Gossypium hirsutum (Malvaceae), A. gossypii, and the predatory lacewing Chrysoperla lucasina (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae), was investigated with a view to providing new pest management strategies. Behavioral tests using a four-arm (Pettersson) olfactometer showed that alate A. gossypii spent significantly more time in the presence of odor from uninfested cotton seedlings compared to clean air, but significantly less time in the presence of odor from A. gossypii infested plants. A. gossypii also spent significantly more time in the presence of headspace samples of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) obtained from uninfested cotton seedlings, but significantly less time with those from A. gossypii infested plants. VOCs from uninfested and A. gossypii infested cotton seedlings were analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) and coupled GC-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), leading to the identification of (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate, (E)-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene (DMNT), methyl salicylate, and (E,E)-4,8,12-trimethyl-1,3,7,11-tridecatetraene (TMTT), which were produced in larger amounts from A. gossypii infested plants compared to uninfested plants. In behavioral tests, A. gossypii spent significantly more time in the control (solvent) arms when presented with a synthetic blend of these four compounds, with and without the presence of VOCs from uninfested cotton. Coupled GC-electroantennogram (EAG) recordings with the lacewing C. lucasina showed significant antennal responses to VOCs from A. gossypii infested cotton, suggesting they have a role in indirect defense and indicating a likely behavioral role for these compounds for the predator as well as the aphid.

Key Words

Gossypium hirsutumAphis gossypiiChrysoperla lucasinaCottonInduced defenseOlfactometerEAGRepellency(Z)-3-Hexenyl acetate(E)-4,8-Dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatrieneMethyl salicylate(E,E)-4,8,12-Trimethyl-1,3,7,11-tridecatetraene

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011