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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Miami, Florida » Subtropical Horticulture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #372662

Research Project: Methyl Bromide Replacement: Mitigation of the Invasive Pest Threat from the American Tropics and Subtropics

Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

Title: TLC method for isolation of medfly attractants from tea tree oil

item Kendra, Paul
item Gill, Micah
item Schnell, Elena
item Montgomery, Wayne
item Tabanca, Nurhayat
item NIOGRET, JEROME - Niogret Ecology Consulting
item EPSKY, NANCY - Retired ARS Employee

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/4/2020
Publication Date: 4/27/2020
Citation: Gill, M. A., E. Q. Schnell, W. S. Montgomery, N. Tabanca, J. Niogret, N. D. Epsky, and P. E. Kendra. 2020. TLC method for isolation of medfly attractants from tea tree oil. 3rd Virtual Symposium of the International Branch of the Entomological Society of America. 27-29 Apr 2020.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae) is one of the most destructive agricultural pests in the world. New attractants could improve detection, suppression and eradication measures of this pest. In this study, tea tree essential oil (TTO) (derived from Melaleuca alternifolia, Myrtaceae) was separated by thin-layer chromatography (TLC) into five major bands, designated as zones 1 to 5. When male C. capitata were exposed to the TLC plate, they were strongly attracted to zones 1 and 3. To confirm attraction, each zone was cut from the TLC plate and tested separately in short-range bioassays. The results confirmed fly attraction to zones 1 and 3; with Rf values of 0.93 and 0.59. Additionally, preparative-TLC was used to obtain fractions of zones 1-5 in sufficient quantities for electroantennography (EAG), which was then used to quantify the fly’s olfactory response to the volatile emissions from each fraction. Fractions 1 and 3 elicited the highest amplitude EAG responses, further supporting the bioactivity of these samples. In conclusion, a TLC-based bioassay system can provide an effective, rapid screening protocol for initial isolation of insect kairomones from complex mixtures such as plant essential oils. Further analysis of TTO fractions 1 and 3 is in progress to identify the specific constituents attractive to male C. capitata.