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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Production of moth sex pheromone precursors in Nicotiana spp.: a worthwhile new approach to pest control

Xia, Yi-Han; Ding, Bao-Jian; Wang, Hong-Lei; Hofvander, Per; Jarl-Sunesson, Carin; Lofstedt, Christer


Pheromones are environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional pesticides for pest control. They are widely applied for insect monitoring, mating disruption and mass trapping.Nicotiana benthamianaandN. tabacumare potential green biomass production platforms of moth sex pheromones. Using these twoNicotianaspecies as plant factories, we expressed biosynthetic genes of plant and insect origin in leaf tissue. Moth sex pheromone precursors (E)-11-tetradecenoic acid, (Z)-11-tetradecenoic acid and (Z)-11-hexadecenoic acid were produced by introducing the acyl-ACP thioesterasesCpuFatB1fromCuphea pulcherrimaorCpaFatB2fromC. palustrisand the fatty acyl desaturasesAve increment 11fromArgyrotaenia velutinana,CpaE11fromChoristoneura parallelaorAtr increment 11fromAmyelois transitella, under the control of CaMV-35S promoter. Among theNicotianaspp. transformants, the best line produced (Z)-11-hexadecenoic acid at 17.6% of total fatty acids in leaves, during flowering stage, corresponding to 335 mu g of (Z)-11-hexadecenoic acid per gram of fresh leaf. The (Z)-11-hexadecenoic acid production lines fromN. benthamianawere selected for further propagation to obtain homozygous lines. In theN. benthamianaT2 generation, the production quantity of (Z)-11-hexadecenoic acid was stable. Our study demonstrates the feasibility of stable transformation ofN. benthamianafor production of moth pheromone precursors in vegetative tissue.


Pest control; Insect pheromone precursors; Nicotianaspp; Acyl-ACP thioesterase; Fatty acyl desaturase; Stable transformation

Published in

Journal of Pest Science
2020, volume: 93, number: 4, pages: 1333-1346

Authors' information

Xia, Yi-Han
Lund Univ
Ding, Bao-Jian
Lund Univ
Wang, Hong-Lei
Lund Univ
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding
Jarl-Sunesson, Carin
Lund Univ
Lofstedt, Christer
Lund Univ

Associated SLU-program

SLU Network Plant Protection

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

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