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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Developing Ambient Almond Orchard Volatile Mixtures for NOW Bioassay Analyses

Location: Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research

Project Number: 5325-42000-037-05-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2008
End Date: Jul 31, 2012

1. Obtain three duplicate samplings of ambient almond grove volatiles via Tenax absorption. The three samplings will correlate to flight times of NOW (mid April, late June, mid September). 2. Determine the identity and relative concentrations of the major VOCs in the ambient grove bouquet via GC-MS analyses. The VOCs will be grouped as average of all three runs as well as according to flight of NOW. 3. Develop a minimum number of volatiles necessary for a corresponding synthetic blend. This blend will be utilized in these research laboratories during puff or EAG studies of NOW. 4. Make available via publication the successful volatile mixture for other researchers to utilize for NOW studies.

The navel orangeworm (NOW) continues to be one of the most important insect pests of almonds. In 2002, one of the twelve top research priorities in the almond industry included “develop…more refined monitoring systems for NOW” and “study methods to improve pheromone mating disruption techniques and cost effectiveness for NOW…” Additionally, one of the top educational priorities for the almond industry as “new pest management tools as they become available”. 1. Statements and plans such as these underscore the need to address the problems associated with NOW for almonds. Research on attractants for NOW monitoring and lure and trap purposes has not yet yielded a commercially viable and dependable product. 2. In the laboratory setting, NOW puff (a volatile sample passed across the insect) or electroantennogram (EAG) studies typically utilize laboratory ambient air as the background volatile. This presents the problem that ambient laboratory air is not providing an appropriate bouquet of VOCs that would normally be perceived by the NOW in an almond grove environment. Consequently, any potential VOC puff the NOW receives from researchers may not elicit an appropriate response due to the absence of typical “grove” volatiles, thus researchers may be missing key signals from the NOW. Although the non-quantified VOC make-up of almond groves has been reported. 3. The VOC composition of removed almonds has been investigated. 4. The specific, quantified, ambient almond grove VOC composition has not been investigated. This proposed research will provide current and future NOW bioassay investigations with a quantified analysis of ambient almond grove volatiles, thus offering a realistic VOC composition as the background effluent to test potential NOW attractants.

Last Modified: 06/26/2017
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