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Doctoral thesis2022Open access

Data in, lures out: designing selective lures against fruit pests

Larsson Herrera, Sebastian


With the push for rebuilding ecosystem resilience and the aim to lower the footprint of agriculture, there is an urgent need for novel, sustainable tools for managing pests. Insect olfaction is a good target to designing such novel tools. However, the rate at which odor-based insect control innovations are churned out is underwhelming. This thesis aims to accelerate the identification of lures using pests of wine and tropical fruits as models. Volatiles from microorganisms, hosts or other ecological relevant substrates, can be used to construct attractive lures. Such a lure was designed for Lobesia botrana, a severe pest in wine. First, volatiles emitted by microbe inoculated grapes were identified using GC-MS. A limited set of shared volatiles was attractive in the field, and further tailored to find a balance between attractiveness and selectivity. The best lure for L. botrana also caught more of other species such as important natural enemies, impacting ecosystem services provided in the vineyard. Hence the most attractive lure is not always the best. A group of invasive pests in the true fruit fly family, Tephritidae, was used as model organisms to design a novel workflow from primary research to lure design. Ranges of olfactory responses, olfactomes, of fruit flies that differ in ecology and phylogeny served as input to a database. Custom tools were developed that allowed for mining this database for ecological as well as evolutionary signals. In the selected pests, ecology overrode phylogeny in the electrophysiological response profile across both olfactory organs, antennae and palps, as well as different substrates. Further, a set of compounds was found that formed a preadaptive bridge between fruits, and a subset links the flies ancestral saprophily to their derived frugivory. Candidate lures, more attractive than fruits, were also tested in a novel six-choice olfactometer. The work shows that selective lures can be designed from generic volatiles and that this process can be strongly accelerated through comparative olfactomics.


GC-EAD; olfactomics; L. botrana; Tephritidae; lures; sustainability

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2022, number: 2022:37ISBN: 978-91-7760-949-0, eISBN: 978-91-7760-950-6Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Bioinformatics and Systems Biology

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