Volatiles from Psylla-infested pear trees and their possible involvement in attraction of anthocorid predators

P. Scutareanu, B. Drukker, J. Bruin, M.A. Posthumus, M.W. Sabelis

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113 Citations (Scopus)


Previous work showed that anthocorid predators aggregate around gauze cages containing Psylla-infested trees in a pear orchard. Because anthocorids responded to odor from Psylla-infested leaves in a laboratory test, it was hypothesized that these aggregative responses in the field were triggered by olfaction of compounds associated with Psylla injury. We present chemical analyses of volatiles from damaged and undamaged plants and studies on behavioral responses of anthocorid predators to compounds released by damaged plants. Leaf headspace volatiles from clean and Psylla-infested pear trees were collected on Tenax and identified by GC-MS after thermodesorption. Twelve volatiles were found exclusively in headspace samples from Psylla-infested leaves. Six were present in significantly higher quantities in samples from infested leaves: the monoterpene, (E,E)-?-farnesene, the phenolic, methyl salicylate, and the green leaf compounds, (Z)-3-hexen-1-yl acetate, (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol, 1-hexyl-acetate, and 1-penten-3-ol. These compounds are known to be produced by plants, and damage by pear psyllids seems to trigger their emission. Blend composition varied and was partly correlated with tree or leaf age and degree of Psylla infestation. To study whether compounds associated with leaf injury elicit olfactory responses in anthocorid predators, apple-extracted (E,E)-?-farnesene, synthetic methyl salicylate, and (Z)-3-hexen-1-yl acetate were offered in a Y-tube olfactometer to field-collected adult Anthocoris spp. Significant positive responses were found to both the monoterpene and the phenolic, but not to the green leaf volatile. The results lend support to the hypothesis that predator attraction to herbivore-infested pear trees is mediated by herbivory-induced plant volatiles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2241-2260
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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