Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Insects' Sex Scents Can Save Lives

Date:
June 21, 2009
Source:
Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council)
Summary:
By identifying and also finding methods to prepare the substances, pheromones, that certain insects secret either to attract to them other individuals of the same species, potential sex partners, or to warn each other about enemies, scientists can save many human lives primarily in the third world.

By identifying and also finding methods to prepare the substances, pheromones, that certain insects secret either to attract to them other individuals of the same species, potential sex partners, or to warn each other about enemies, scientists can save many human lives primarily in the third world.

Related Articles


This is shown by Björn Bohman at Kalmar University in Sweden in his dissertation “Identification, Synthesis, and Structure-activity Studies of Semiochemicals.” Under the supervision of Associate Professor Rikard Unelius, Björn Bohman, a chemist, has collaborated with biologists to find the compounds secreted by three different insects.

In South America there are the two blood-sucking triatomines Rhodnius prolixus and Triatoma brasliensis, which carry parasites that spread the deadly Chagas disease that affects millions of people in South America each year. By trying to identify the substances that the insects send out either to attract others of the same species or to alarm others about danger, it will be possible to control these insects.

Biologists have singled out the relevant glands in the insects. In his work Björn Bohman managed to identify several compounds that are found in these glands and then to prepare them synthetically in the laboratory. The objective is to be able to produce an inexpensive monitoring trap (such as a matchbox with a sticky strip and a scent) that people in exposed areas can have in their homes.

For the last five years he has been busy with three projects, one of which involves these triatomines in South America. Moreover he has worked with the lucerne weevil Sitona discoideus, which attacks alfalfa, and developed ways to stop damage from the gnawing of the pine weevil Hylobius abietis, which can be a major problem when clear-cut forests are replanted.

All of the isomers of a potential sex pheromone for the lucerne weevil, 5-hydroxy-4-methyl-3-heptanone, were synthesized using a method developed by Björn Bohman, who used vegetables or mushrooms to produce the desired compounds. This proved to be a both better and considerably simpler method than previously known methods.

Knowledge of insect pheromones and how they can be produced synthetically is important when it comes to finding effective ways to reduce the use of pesticides in agriculture, for example. With this knowledge it is possible, for one thing, to spread tiny amounts of the substance that the insect pests communicate with so that they can't find each other for mating or, the opposite way, to lure them into traps where they can be eliminated.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). "Insects' Sex Scents Can Save Lives." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617155009.htm>.
Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). (2009, June 21). Insects' Sex Scents Can Save Lives. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617155009.htm
Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). "Insects' Sex Scents Can Save Lives." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617155009.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) — Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) — One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins