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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Hilo, Hawaii » Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center » Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research » Research » Research Project #443222

Research Project: Identification of Giant African Snail Odors to Aid Detector Dog Training

Location: Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research

Project Number: 2040-43000-018-029-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Jul 31, 2024

1) Provide wild giant African snail material (eggs, different life stages, and mucus) for odor evaluation and field testing with giant African snail trained canine teams. 2) Determine whether the odor profile of wild giant Aftican snails differs from key invasive gastropod species established in Hawaii including Parmarion martensi and Veronicella cubensis. 3) Select target group of compounds from the odor profile of wild giant African snail as candidates to develop a synthetic training tool. 4) Develop a synthetic training tool if compounds are found to be unique to giant African snail and commercially available.

Field Collection of snails Wild giant African snails (adults and juveniles) and eggs will be obtained from three different locations known to have large numbers of snails. Field collections will be made in the early morning or late night while the snails are still active. The sample will be brought back to the lab for immediate processing and odor collection or frozen. Mucus Sample Collection Mucus will be collected directly in the field, late night or prior to sunrise when they are still active. The mucus will be collected directly from the adult snails by gently scrapping the snail foot and body with a 20 ml glass vial. The mucus will then immediately be prepared for volatile collection or frozen at -20ºC. Snail odor analysis The volatile profile of different life stages and mucus of wild giant African snail and target HI invasive gastropods will be determined using an Agilent 8890 GC and 5977B MSD equipped with Markes TD100-xr Thermal Desorption and Agilent 7697A Headspace Sampling unit either with non-polar DB-5MS or polar DB-Wax capillary columns (30 m x 0.25 mm diameter x 0.25 um film thickness). Snail and target HI invasive gastropod volatile compounds will be identified based on library matches, retention index, and using authentic standards if commercially available. Volatile profiles of mucus and different life stages of giant African snails will be identified by comparing the presences or absence of compounds found in the mucus and different life stages to each other as well as to the profiles of the target HI invasive gastropods. A mixture of the volatile compounds unique to giant African snail odors based on odor source (mucus, eggs, juveniles, and/or adults) will be prepared for testing with giant African snail trained canines.