Biography

Field of research:

-Chemical ecology, with focus on insects

-Insect behaviour

-Semiochemicals

-Interactions between plants, pest insects and beneficial organisms

-Odour based insect pest management

-Alternative plant protection strategies against pest insects

-Pest insects in cereals, oilseed and protein crops

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Abstract

Upon herbivory, plants release herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs), which induce chemical defenses in the plant as well as recruit natural enemies. However, whether synthetic HIPVs can be employed to enhance biological control in a cultivated crop in the field is yet to be explored. Here we show that a biodegradable formulation loaded with induced and food-signaling volatiles can selectively recruit the common green lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea, and reduce pest population under field conditions. In apple orchards, the new formulation attracted lacewing adults over a 4-week period, which correlated well with independent assessments of the longevity of the slow-release matrix measured through chemical analyses. In barley, lacewing eggs and larvae were significantly more abundant in treated plots, whereas a significant reduction of two aphid species was measured (98.9% and 93.6% of population reduction, for Sitobion avenae and Rhopalosiphum padi, respectively). Results show the potential for semiochemical-based targeted recruitment of lacewings to enhance biological control of aphids in a field setting. Further research should enhance selective recruitment by rewarding attracted natural enemies and by optimizing the application technique.

To document

Abstract

Olfaction is the most important sensory mechanism by which many insects interact with their environment and a wind tunnel is an excellent tool to study insect chemical ecology. Insects can locate point sources in a three-dimensional environment through the sensory interaction and sophisticated behavior. The quantification of this behavior is a key element in the development of new tools for pest control and decision support. A wind tunnel with a suitable flight section with laminar air flow, visual cues for in-flight feedback and a variety of options for the application of odors can be used to measure complex behaviour which subsequently may allow the identification of attractive or repellent odors, insect flight characteristics, visual-odor interactions and interactions between attractants and odors lingering as background odors in the environment. A wind tunnel holds the advantage of studying the odor mediated behavioural repertoire of an insect in a laboratory setting. Behavioural measures in a controlled setting provide the link between the insect physiology and field application. A wind tunnel must be a flexible tool and should easily support the changes to setup and hardware to fit different research questions. The major disadvantage to the wind tunnel setup described here, is the clean odor background which necessitates special attention when developing a synthetic volatile blend for field application.

To document

Abstract

Herbivorous insects use olfactory cues to locate their host plant within a complex olfactory landscape. One such example is the European grapevine moth Lobesia botrana, a key pest of the grape in the Palearctic region, which recently expanded both its geographical and host plant range. Previous studies have showed that a synthetic blend of the three terpenoids, (E)-β-caryophyllene, (E)-β-farnesene and (E)-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene (DMNT), was as attractive for the moth as the complete grape odour profile in laboratory conditions. The same studies also showed that the specific ratio of these compounds in the grape bouquet was crucial because a percentage variation in any of the three volatiles resulted in almost complete inhibition of the blend's attractiveness. Here, we report on the creation of stable grapevine transgenic lines, with modified (E)-β-caryophyllene and (E)-β-farnesene emission and thus with an altered ratio compared to the original plants. When headspace collections from these plants were tested in wind tunnel behavioural assays, they were less attractive than control extracts. This result was confirmed by testing synthetic blends imitating the ratio found on natural and transformed plants, as well as by testing the plants themselves. With this evidence, we suggest that a strategy based on volatile ratio modification may also interfere with the host-finding behaviour of L. botrana in the field, creating avenues for new pest control methods.

Abstract

Although supporting high productivity, modern agriculture caused a long-term impact on natural trophic interactions, releasing pests from pressure linked with their natural enemies. Studies have demonstrated that volatiles released under herbivory can recruit natural enemies of pests from a distance. Here, we used a novel biodegradable formulation loaded with induced and food-signalling volatiles with the aim to attract the green lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea, and increase biological control of two cereal aphids Sitobion avenae and Rhopalosiphum padi. The new product consisted of a biodegradable matrix loaded with a 3-component blend of methyl salicylate, acetic acid and phenylacetaldehyde in a 1:1:1 ratio. Field experiments were carried out in a barley field in Norway. Single plants were provided with a 1 ml dollop of the new formulation or with a standard polyethylene emballage dispenser loaded with the same amount of compounds. The number of lacewing eggs and larvae as well as the attraction of additional natural enemies was recorded both on the treated and surrounding plants by visual inspection. At the same time, an assessment of aphid infestation was carried out. A higher local density of lacewing adults, eggs and larvae over an 8-week period was observed for both the standard and the biodegradable formulation in comparison with untreated plants. Chemical analysis of the volatiles emitted from the slow-release matrix showed an active emission of the blend over at least a 4-week period. Significant biological control of aphid was measured in the vegetation surrounding the odour source. Both aphid populations were significantly reduced, with no difference between the new and the standard treatment. While coccinellids and hoverflies were not affected by the treatment, a lower number of mummified aphids were measured in some of the treated plants in comparison with untreated ones. Results show the potential for semiochemical-based targeted attraction of lacewings to enhance biological control of aphids in a prevalent monoculture field setting. Additional studies are required to support the development of practical integrated pest management guidelines, including optimization of application density, threshold value for pest and natural enemies and practical recommendation for the establishment of non-crop vegetation within and around the crop.

To document

Abstract

Upon herbivory, plants release herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs), which induce chemical defenses in the plant as well as recruit natural enemies. However, whether synthetic HIPVs can be employed to enhance biological control in a cultivated crop in the field is yet to be explored. Here we show that a biodegradable formulation loaded with induced and food-signaling volatiles can selectively recruit the common green lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea, and reduce pest population under field conditions. In apple orchards, the new formulation attracted lacewing adults over a 4-week period, which correlated well with independent assessments of the longevity of the slow-release matrix measured through chemical analyses. In barley, lacewing eggs and larvae were significantly more abundant in treated plots, whereas a significant reduction of two aphid species was measured (98.9% and 93.6% of population reduction, for Sitobion avenae and Rhopalosiphum padi, respectively). Results show the potential for semiochemical-based targeted recruitment of lacewings to enhance biological control of aphids in a field setting. Further research should enhance selective recruitment by rewarding attracted natural enemies and by optimizing the application technique.

Abstract

In the family Orchidaceae, many species have highly specialised floral structures and floral fragrances resulting from interactions with specific pollinators. Olfactory cues are important for the moths to locate orchids at a distance, whereas visual cues are important at a closer range. In this study, we combined a portable air entrainment kit with an automated video monitoring system for collecting volatiles and observing behaviour directly around-the-clock (24 h) in the natural habitat of our target plant–arthropod system, the orchid Platanthera chlorantha and the hawkmoth Sphinx pinastri. We found that P. chlorantha was visited almost exclusively by S. pinastri. All the visits occurred after sunset, principally between sunset and midnight. Soon after midnight, visits dropped to levels recorded at sunset, then declined further towards sunrise. The period with most visits matched the peak production of the terpenoids (Z)-β-ocimene and (E)-β-ocimene. In contrast, linalool, (E)-cinnamyl alcohol and benzyl benzoate emission continued to increase beyond the period of peak visits up to sunrise. Methyl benzoate emissions declined throughout the night from a sunset peak. As temporal emission of the two volatile ocimenes from P. chlorantha flowers matches S. pinastri foraging visits to the flowers, we propose that they play a vital role in assisting hawkmoths locate their hosts. This is the first study to show correspondence in the timing of specific scent emissions in orchids and moth activity on the scale of hours.

To document

Abstract

Olfaction is the most important sensory mechanism by which many insects interact with their environment and a wind tunnel is an excellent tool to study insect chemical ecology. Insects can locate point sources in a three-dimensional environment through the sensory interaction and sophisticated behavior. The quantification of this behavior is a key element in the development of new tools for pest control and decision support. A wind tunnel with a suitable flight section with laminar air flow, visual cues for in-flight feedback and a variety of options for the application of odors can be used to measure complex behaviour which subsequently may allow the identification of attractive or repellent odors, insect flight characteristics, visual-odor interactions and interactions between attractants and odors lingering as background odors in the environment. A wind tunnel holds the advantage of studying the odor mediated behavioural repertoire of an insect in a laboratory setting. Behavioural measures in a controlled setting provide the link between the insect physiology and field application. A wind tunnel must be a flexible tool and should easily support the changes to setup and hardware to fit different research questions. The major disadvantage to the wind tunnel setup described here, is the clean odor background which necessitates special attention when developing a synthetic volatile blend for field application.

To document

Abstract

Herbivorous insects use olfactory cues to locate their host plant within a complex olfactory landscape. One such example is the European grapevine moth Lobesia botrana, a key pest of the grape in the Palearctic region, which recently expanded both its geographical and host plant range. Previous studies have showed that a synthetic blend of the three terpenoids, (E)-β-caryophyllene, (E)-β-farnesene and (E)-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene (DMNT), was as attractive for the moth as the complete grape odour profile in laboratory conditions. The same studies also showed that the specific ratio of these compounds in the grape bouquet was crucial because a percentage variation in any of the three volatiles resulted in almost complete inhibition of the blend's attractiveness. Here, we report on the creation of stable grapevine transgenic lines, with modified (E)-β-caryophyllene and (E)-β-farnesene emission and thus with an altered ratio compared to the original plants. When headspace collections from these plants were tested in wind tunnel behavioural assays, they were less attractive than control extracts. This result was confirmed by testing synthetic blends imitating the ratio found on natural and transformed plants, as well as by testing the plants themselves. With this evidence, we suggest that a strategy based on volatile ratio modification may also interfere with the host-finding behaviour of L. botrana in the field, creating avenues for new pest control methods.

Abstract

In nature plant terpenoids play multiple ecological roles. Many phytophagous insects use them as kairomones to locate their host plants. This is also the case for Lobesia botrana, which is the main pest of European vineyards. It was found that a specific blend of the terpenoids (E)-β-caryophyllene, (E)-β-farnesene and the homoterpene (E)-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene emitted by grapevine was attractive to L. botrana females, and the attractiveness was shown to be dependent on the kairomone ratio. In this work, we generated stable grapevine transgenic lines with altered (E)-β-caryophyllene and (E)-β-farnesene emission compared to natural plants. Thus, we modified the ratio between these two kairomones in vivo, and tested how it affected L. botrana behaviour.