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A Brief Introduction to Insect Pheromone

Author: Tylor Keller
by Tylor Keller
Posted: Feb 17, 2022

Insect pheromones are compounds used to express various information such as aggregation, foraging, mating, and vigilance. Insect pheromones exist in insects in nature, and all insects produce and recognize pheromones. Insect pheromones have been widely used in pest management internationally in recent years as they are green and environmentally friendly, making fruit and vegetable safer.

How Insect Pheromone Is Composed?

Insect pheromones are mainly composed of alkanes and alkenes, most of which are straight-chain unsaturated acetates with 10-18 carbons and their alcohols or aldehydes, and a few contain epoxy structures. The composition of insect pheromone in each geographic region will slightly differ from each other.

Application of Insect Pheromone in Pest Control

Integrated pest management has played an important role in modern agriculture. For a long time, chemical control of pests has relied almost exclusively on synthetic, laboratory-based chemicals. However, modern pest control has partially shifted to using natural chemicals, such as insect pheromones, which are produced by the insects themselves.

Compared with other pest control methods, the use of insect pheromone technology has some unique advantages. First, high specificity: as we mentioned above, the pheromone composition of different geographical populations of the same insect has certain differences, thus can accurately target certain insects in the process of pest control, without harming other insects. Secondly, low dosage: since insects are extremely sensitive to pheromones, a small amount of pheromone can achieve the effect. Thirdly, no pollution: pheromone is volatilized into the air through the carrier and is not in direct contact with crops, soil and water. Furthermore, it is relatively easy to decompose and does not bring harm to the environment, making itself a better choice for the production of green and organic agricultural products. Fourthly, high compatibility: pheromone can be integrated into the combined use of other green prevention and control technologies such as biological pesticides, planting and breeding.

Classification of Insect Pheromones

Aggregation pheromones

Animals rely on secretions to attract other individuals of the same species to come to live together, feed together, and attack heterogeneous objects, thereby forming a population aggregation. This secretion is called aggregation pheromone. There are a variety of lower animals that often live together, and whether there are aggregation pheromones in the higher animals is still under investigation.

Alarm pheromones

When an individual of a certain species is attacked by an enemy, it can send out a special chemical signal substance, so that after the partner gets the signal, it can cause alertness or escape. When aphids are attacked by predators, trace chemicals are released from the abdominal tube to warn companions to leave. Insects living in groups such as bees and ants have more warning pheromones. The bee alarm pheromone consists of a mixture of 2-heptanone produced by the mandibular gland and isoamyl acetate produced by the sting gland.

Trail pheromones

The actions of gregarious insects are often swarming. Especially those gregarious insects that have lost their wings or move in the larval stage often leave pheromones on the road it crawls to show the traces of its actions, so that the companions follow the traces and inform their companions. In this way, when they find a new food source or a new nest area, their companions will follow.

Marking pheromones

Some animals live in a certain area, and they often leave a special marking substance or a special smell so as to inform other individuals of the same species, and exclude them from entering the area.

With many years of research, Alfa Chemistry now can provide various types of insect pheromones, including alcohol-functionalized pheromone, aldehyde-functionalized pheromone, carboxyl-functionalized pheromone, epoxy-functionalized pheromone, ester-functionalized pheromone, and ketone-functionalized pheromone. Moreover, its outstanding insect pheromone experts are also capable of developing a variety of insect pheromone solutions for customers who are involved with synthesis, extraction and purification, and formulation optimization of insect pheromones.

About the Author

As a global Contract Research Organization (Cro), headquartered in New York, Usa, Alfa Chemistry has served the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries for eight years.

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Author: Tylor Keller

Tylor Keller

Member since: Oct 25, 2017
Published articles: 37

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