Navigation Links
Researchers trap moths with plant-produced sex pheromone

MANHATTAN, Kan. A collaborative experiment involving a Kansas State University biochemist may mark the beginning of an effective, environmentally friendly plant-based method of insect control.

Timothy Durrett, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, was part of the collaboration that used various plant and moth enzymes to engineer plants that emitted sex pheromones that mimic those naturally produced by two species of moths.

The research recently appeared in the journal Nature Communications, "A plant factory for moth pheromone production." The study was led by Christer Lfstedt of Lund University in Sweden and also included researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Pheromones are chemicals released from the body of animals and insects that are used to attract mates or relay danger. Currently, insect pests are managed with pesticides and synthetic pheromones the latter of which confuse the insect and prevent it from breeding or enable it to be trapped.

"While these pheromones can be made chemically, it can be a toxic process to produce them," Durrett said. "What we demonstrated in this study is a more environmentally friendly approach that avoids the need to use toxic chemicals and eliminates hazardous byproducts from producing synthetic pheromones. The plant just handles everything."

The study focused on the bird-cherry ermine moth and the orchard ermine moth two insects that feed on the leaves of orchard trees and, as caterpillars, can strip trees of their bark.

Durrett helped the Swedish researchers use enzymes from plants and moths to create a biological pathway that made it possible for plants to produce the moths' sex pheromones. He contributed an enzyme from the burning bush plant that performed the final step in the synthesis process, essentially turning plants into pheromone production factories.

Once the correct combination of enzymes was finalized, researchers modified Nicotiana benthamiana, an Australian plant that is closely related to tobacco plant.

The result was plants that produced pheromones that mimicked the sex pheromones of both moth species.

The Swedish researchers baited moth traps with the plant-produced pheromone. They found that each trap attracted an average of 130 male moths half the number of catches possible with synthetic pheromones but enough to demonstrate the effectiveness of the biosynthetic method.

While a proof-of-concept experiment, engineering plants to be insect pheromone-producing factories creates an environmentally friendly alternative to pesticides as well as an easier and less expensive method of synthesizing insect pheromones, Durrett said.

"None of the enzymes that were put together would interact with each other naturally, so it was really exciting to see this pathway work and be as effective as it is," Durrett said.


Contact: Timothy Durrett
Kansas State University

Related biology news :

1. Researchers generate new neurons in brains, spinal cords of living adult mammals
2. Researchers at LSTM crack the genetic secret of mosquito resistance to DDT and ITNs
3. McMaster researchers discover secret of bowel movement
4. Researchers have identified a novel immunological mechanism of great importance for vaccine developm
5. Researchers pinpoint brain region essential for social memory
6. Discovery by Baylor University researchers sheds new light on the habitat of early apes
7. Kessler Foundation researchers study impact of head movement on fMRI data
8. Researchers propose a better way to make sense of Big Data
9. Researchers shed new light on the genetic history of the European beaver
10. Researchers identify new way to control stone fruit disease
11. Researchers warn against abrupt stop to geoengineering method
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Researchers trap moths with plant-produced sex pheromone
(Date:11/9/2015)... 09, 2015 ... the "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market ... --> ) has announced the ... Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to their ... ( ) has announced the addition ...
(Date:10/29/2015)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical ... research, is pleased to announce that it has been ... one of only three finalists for a 2015 ... Growing" category. The Tekne Awards honor Minnesota ... innovation and leadership. iMedNet™ eClinical ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, Joseph ... explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and the business ... The Internet of Healthy Things . ... smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected Health, ... care delivery, moving care from the hospital or doctor,s ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... --> --> ... by Transparency Market Research, the global non-invasive prenatal testing ... 17.5% during the period between 2014 and 2022. The ... Analysis, Size, Volume, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2014 ... to reach a valuation of US$2.38 bn by 2022. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... In harsh industrial ... points for in-line sensors can represent a weak spot where leaking process media ... of retractable sensor housings , which are designed to tolerate extreme process conditions. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... LOS ANGELES , Nov. 24, 2015 ... a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and ... Marban , Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, is scheduled to ... December 1, 2015 at 10:50 a.m. EST, at The ... York City . . ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... , ... Whitehouse Laboratories is pleased to announce that it has completed construction ... dedicated to basic USP 61, USP 62 and USP 51 testing specific to raw ... and micro testing performed by one supplier. Management has formally announced that ...
Breaking Biology Technology: