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Identification and use of the coconut moth-produced sexual pheromone for its sustainable management

Grant number: 19/25263-0
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: February 01, 2021 - January 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Plant Health
Convênio/Acordo: CONFAP - National Council of State Research Support Foundations
Principal Investigator:José Maurício Simões Bento
Grantee:José Maurício Simões Bento
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Arodí Prado Favaris ; Henrique Fonseca Goulart ; Weliton Dias da Silva


The insects associated with coconut inflorescences, Cocos nucifera (Arecaceae), and their role as pollinators and pests are neglected over defoliators and borers. Although the flowers are partially self-compatible, the absence of pollinators reduce yields by 25%. The coconut moth, Atheloca subrufella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), contributes to the fall of flowers and fruits in this crop, and is therefore one of its main pests. Considering that caterpillars grow inside young fruits and adults occur in inflorescences, the control is traditionally done with chemical insecticides, which are inefficient and severely impact pollinators. In this sense, in order to seek a more rational management strategy for this pest and preserve the pollinating insects of coconut, this project aims to identify a sex pheromone of A. subrufella for its monitoring and control. Due to the fact that Brazil is the world's fifth-largest producer of coconuts, this crop is socioeconomically important for the Northeast of Brazil and its consumption in São Paulo State is very high, this project will generate new technologies that support this agribusiness. Thus, the laboratories of UFAL and USP / ESALQ, both with the tradition of solving problems in the area of semiochemicals for agriculture, will join efforts in order to enable new alternatives of pest control. (AU)

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