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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Miami, Florida » Subtropical Horticulture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #402759

Research Project: Mitigation of Invasive Pest Threats to U.S. Subtropical Agriculture

Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

Title: Identification of behavior-modifying odors for the Mediterranean fruit fly isolated from tea tree oil

item Cloonan, Kevin
item Tabanca, Nurhayat
item Schnell, Elena
item Vazquez, Aime
item Gill, Micah

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/21/2023
Publication Date: 7/24/2023
Citation: Cloonan, K.R., Tabanca, N., Schnell, E.Q., Vazquez, A., Gill, M.A. 2023. Identification of behavior-modifying odors for the Mediterranean fruit fly isolated from tea tree oil. Meeting Abstract.

Interpretive Summary: N/A.

Technical Abstract: The Mediterranean fruit fly, or medfly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae) is one of the most economically important pests of fruit crops worldwide. Trimedlure (TML), a parapheromone attractive to males, is the standard lure used to monitor medfly populations. Although an effective attractant, TML has a relatively short field-life, is expensive, and is supplied by only one manufacturer. Additional research is thus needed to identify alternative attractants to TML. In a previous study we developed a thin-layer chromatography (TLC) method for separating and assaying fractions of tea tree essential oil (TTO) that are attractive to male medflies. Five distinct TTO fractions were separated initially and two were found to be attractive to males. In the current study, four antennally-sensitive monoterpenes from fraction 1, and two alcohols from fraction 3 were isolated and identified via gas chromatography coupled with electroantennographic detection (GC-EAD) and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Olfactory responses to volatile emissions from synthetic EAD-active compounds were also quantified by electroantennography (EAG). In small-cage assays the two alcohols were more attractive than TTO, and the monoterpene was less attractive than TTO. However, male flies spent more time contacting and clustering around the monoterpene than TTO or the two alcohols. Developing economical alternatives to TML for monitoring medfly populations could reduce programs costs involved in managing this serious agricultural pest.