To prevent the insect from re-infecting a grove after contaminated trees have been eradicated, growers are typically advised to monitor pest populations, locate them and apply agrochemicals, but until now, there has been no suitable technology for this task.
Researchers grouped in the National Institute of Science & Technology (INCT in the Portuguese abbreviation) for Semiochemicals in Agriculture -- one of the INCTs based in São Paulo State with support from São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and the National Council for Scientific & Technological Development (CNPq) -- have now identified and synthesized D. citri's sex pheromone for use as bait in traps to lure the insects, kill them, and prevent mating.
Discovery - Scientists - University - São - Paulo
The discovery was made by scientists at the University of São Paulo's Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ-USP) and the Citrus Defense Fund (Fundecitrus) in Brazil, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of California, Davis, in the United States. Their findings were recently published in an article in Scientific Reports.
"The discovery and synthesis of this sex pheromone should make monitoring and controlling the insect more efficient so that the incidence of HLB can be reduced," said José Roberto Postali Parra, a professor at ESALQ-USP and co-principal investigator for INCT Semiochemicals in Agriculture.
INCT - Researchers - D - Citri - Sex
The INCT's researchers had been trying since 2009 to identify D. citri's sex pheromone for use in baited traps. They began by studying the insect's behavior and trying to extract semiochemicals, chemical substances involved in communication, such as sex pheromones.
However, isolating semiochemicals was made difficult by the insect's complex behavior as well as its biology.
Word - Asian - Citrus - Psyllid - Sex
"We realized from the word go that it would be very hard to identify the Asian citrus psyllid's sex pheromone because its behavior is complex and semiochemicals are present only in very small quantities," said José Maurício Simões Bento, also a professor at ESALQ-USP...
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