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Exometabolome of the tegument from the social wasp Polybia paulista by GC-MS: molecular basis of parental types recognition

Grant number: 11/23407-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2012
Effective date (End): February 28, 2014
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Organic Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Mario Sergio Palma
Grantee:Franciele Grego Esteves
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil


The social wasps have an efficient system of chemical communication based on pheromones. In social wasps the pheromones are responsible for eliciting the behaviors of alarm, recruitment, defense of the colony, and kin-recognition. The most of these components (mostly non-polar and volatile) are secreted by the Dufour gland, whose secretion is a complex mixture of saturated and unsaturated lipids with medium chain; short chained organics acids, aldehydes and ketones. The tegument of social wasps is covered by a mixture of epicuticular waxes and hydrocarbons, which, together with a variety of other molecules, may play different roles in the chemical communication of these animals, both for recognition of individuals as intra-and interspecific chemical signals. Therefore, this work aims to identify low molecular mass compounds that are present in the tegument of the social wasp Polybia paulista, by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Moreover, this is an important tool for the study of molecular markers, allowing the comparison of actual spectra with extensive libraries of mass spectra, very accurately. The compounds from the tegument of Polybia paulista will be functionally characterized by behavioral bioassays in the country side, aiding the understanding of the chemical ecology of this insect, through the study of chemical communication and defense mechanisms / recognition of the species of social wasp Polybia paulista.