Submitted to: Journal of Bionic Engineering
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/2/2011
Publication Date: 12/15/2011
Citation: Suh, C.P., Ding, N., Lan, Y. 2011. Using an electronic nose to rapidly assess grandlure content in boll weevil pheromone lures. Journal of Bionic Engineering. 8:449-454. Interpretive Summary: Samples of pheromone (attractant chemical blend) lures used in boll weevil eradication programs are routinely analyzed by gas chromatography to ensure lures are adequately dosed with pheromone. Although this technique accurately quantifies the pheromone contents of lures, preparation of samples is tedious, time-consuming, and requires a moderate level of experience. We evaluated an electronic nose (Enose) – same type of instrument used by the military to detect explosives and chemical warfare agents – for rapidly assessing the pheromone content of lures. Our results indicate a commercially-available Enose can be trained to recognize boll weevil pheromone and accurately discriminate among different concentrations of pheromone if the differences are large enough. In light of these findings, Enose instruments show considerable promise as tools for rapidly assessing the pheromone contents of lures.
Technical Abstract: Samples of pheromone lures used in boll weevil eradication programs are routinely analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) to ensure lures are adequately dosed with grandlure, the synthetic aggregation pheromone produced by male weevils. Although this approach accurately quantifies the pheromone contents of lures, preparation of GC samples is tedious, time consuming, and requires a moderate level of experience. We examined the use of a commercially-available Enose (Cyranose 320) for rapidly assessing the grandlure contents of lures. The Enose was trained to recognize headspace collections of grandlure emitted from new lures and after lures were aged under field conditions for 4, 7, 10, and 14 d. Based on cross-validation of the training set, the Enose was 82% accurate in discriminating among the different age classes of lures. Upon sampling headspace collections of pheromone from a different set of field aged lures, the Enose was <50% accurate in discriminating 4, 7, and 10 d aged lures from the other age classes of lures. However, the Enose identified new (0 d) and 14 d aged lure samples with 100% accuracy. In light of these findings, a trained Enose shows considerable promise as a tool for rapidly assessing the initial grandlure contents of lures used in boll weevil eradication programs.