Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 32, Issue 11, pp 2475–2487

Electrophysiological Responses of the Lepidopterous Stemborers Chilo partellus and Busseola fusca to Volatiles from Wild and Cultivated Host Plants

  • M. A. Birkett
  • K. Chamberlain
  • Z. R. Khan
  • J. A. Pickett
  • T. Toshova
  • L. J. Wadhams
  • C. M. Woodcock
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10886-006-9165-1

Cite this article as:
Birkett, M.A., Chamberlain, K., Khan, Z.R. et al. J Chem Ecol (2006) 32: 2475. doi:10.1007/s10886-006-9165-1

Abstract

The stemborers Chilo partellus and Busseola fusca are major pests of subsistence cereal farming in Africa. Volatiles released by two cultivated hosts, sorghum and maize (Sorghum bicolor and Zea mays), and two wild grass hosts, Pennisetum purpureum and Hyparrhenia tamba, were collected by air entrainment. Electrophysiologically active components in these samples were detected by coupled gas chromatography-electroantennography (GC-EAG), and the active peaks identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. A total of 41 compounds were identified from the four plant species, all of which, as well as two unidentified compounds, elicited an electrophysiological response from one or both of the stemborers. The compounds included a number of green leaf volatiles and other aliphatic aldehydes, ketones, and esters, mono- and sesquiterpenoids, and some aromatic compounds. EAG studies with authentic samples, conducted at two discriminating doses for all compounds, and dose–response curves for 14 of the most highly EAG-active compounds, showed significant differences in relative responses between species. The compounds that elicited large responses in both species of moths included linalool, acetophenone, and 4-allylanisole, while a number of compounds such as the aliphatic aldehydes octanal, nonanal, and decanal elicited a large response in B. fusca, but a significantly smaller response in C. partellus. Furthermore, the wild hosts produced higher levels of physiologically active compounds compared with either of the cultivated hosts. These differences are discussed in relation to the differential attraction/oviposition of the two stemborers observed in the field and, particularly for eastern African small-scale farming systems, in the context of using a push–pull strategy for their control.

Keywords

Stemborer Maize Sorghum Host location Electrophysiology Volatiles GC-MS Push–pull 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. Birkett
    • 1
  • K. Chamberlain
    • 1
  • Z. R. Khan
    • 2
  • J. A. Pickett
    • 1
  • T. Toshova
    • 3
  • L. J. Wadhams
    • 1
  • C. M. Woodcock
    • 1
  1. 1.Rothamsted ResearchHarpendenUK
  2. 2.International Centre of Insect Physiology and EcologyNairobiKenya
  3. 3.Institute of Zoology, Bulgarian Academy of SciencesSofiaBulgaria

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