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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Green Chemistry Production of Codlemone, the Sex Pheromone of the Codling Moth (Cydia pomonella), by Metabolic Engineering of the Oilseed Crop Camelina (Camelina sativa)

Xia, Yi-Han; Wang, Hong-Lei; Ding, Bao-Jian; Svensson, Glenn P.; Jarl-Sunesson, Carin; Cahoon, Edgar B.; Hofvander, Per; Lofstedt, Christer


Synthetic pheromones have been used for pest control over several decades. The conventional synthesis of di-unsaturated pheromone compounds is usually complex and costly. Camelina (Camelina sativa) has emerged as an ideal, non-food biotech oilseed platform for production of oils with modified fatty acid compositions. We used Camelina as a plant factory to produce mono- and di-unsaturated C-12 chain length moth sex pheromone precursors, (E)-9-dodecenoic acid and (E,E)-8,10-dodecadienoic acid, by introducing a fatty acyl-ACP thioesterase FatB gene UcTE from California bay laurel (Umbellularia californica) and a bifunctional increment 9 desaturase gene Cpo_CPRQ from the codling moth, Cydia pomonella. Different transgene combinations were investigated for increasing pheromone precursor yield. The most productive Camelina line was engineered with a vector that contained one copy of UcTE and the viral suppressor protein encoding P19 transgenes and three copies of Cpo_CPRQ transgene. The T-2 generation of this line produced 9.4% of (E)-9-dodecenoic acid and 5.5% of (E,E)-8,10-dodecadienoic acid of the total fatty acids, and seeds were selected to advance top-performing lines to homozygosity. In the T-4 generation, production levels of (E)-9-dodecenoic acid and (E,E)-8,10-dodecadienoic acid remained stable. The diene acid together with other seed fatty acids were converted into corresponding alcohols, and the bioactivity of the plant-derived codlemone was confirmed by GC-EAD and a flight tunnel assay. Trapping in orchards and home gardens confirmed significant and specific attraction of C. pomonella males to the plant-derived codlemone.


Conjugated double bonds; Plant factory; Acyl-ACP thioesterase; increment 9 desaturase; Multi-gene copies; P19; Agrobacterium-based floral-dip transformation; Bioassay

Published in

Journal of Chemical Ecology
2021, volume: 47, number: 12, pages: 950-967
Publisher: SPRINGER

Authors' information

Xia, Yi-Han
Chalmers University of Technology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding
Wang, Hong-Lei
Lund University
Ding, Bao-Jian
Lund University
Svensson, Glenn P.
Lund University
Jarl-Sunesson, Carin
Lund University
Cahoon, Edgar B.
University of Nebraska Lincoln
Lofstedt, Christer
Lund University

Associated SLU-program

SLU Network Plant Protection

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

Publication Identifiers


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