Diabrotica speciosa is a polyphagous pest that causes severe economic damage in Brazil and other countries in South America. Recent studies have shown that D. speciosa females release six unidentified sex-specific compounds which are candidates for sex pheromone composition. In this project, we propose to elucidate the chemical structures of these compounds and synthesize them in order to contribute to the development and improvement of control management techniques of D. speciosa populations. By obtaining the synthetic pheromone, we intend to evaluate its biological activity through laboratory and field bioassays aiming at characterizing the efficacy and viability of its use in agricultural crops. The proposed activities are: (i) obtain extracts containing D. speciosa female volatiles; (ii) run chromatographic analyses of D. speciosa female volatile extracts; (iii) elucidate the chemical structures of all candidate compounds of D. speciosa sex pheromone; (iv) synthesize these compounds, and (v) verify the attractiveness of synthetic compounds to males in laboratory and field tests. These activities will be developed at the Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia (INCT) de Semioquímicos na Agricultura, which has excellent physical infrastructure and multidisciplinary team of researchers with international acceptance in the Chemical Ecology society. Collection of volatile extracts, initial chemical analyses and determination of the synthetic pheromone efficiency will be conducted at Laboratório de Comportamento e Ecologia Química de Insetos in the Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ/USP), and the structural identification and synthesis of pheromonal candidates will be conducted at the Laboratório de Semioquímicos in the Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR).
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: