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Researchers trap moths with plant-produced sex pheromone
Date:2/26/2014

mes 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.


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Contact: Timothy Durrett
tdurrett@k-state.edu
785-532-3139
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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