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J Chem Ecol. 2003 Jul;29(7):1589-600.

Volatiles from whitefly-infested plants elicit a host-locating response in the parasitoid, Encarsia formosa.

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  • 1Biological and Ecological Chemistry Department, IACR-Rothamsted, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 2JQ, United Kingdom.


The blend of volatile compounds emitted by bean plants (Phaseolus vulgaris) infested with greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum) has been studied comparatively with undamaged plants and whiteflies themselves. Collection of the volatiles and analysis by gas chromatography revealed more than 20 compounds produced by plants infested with whitefly. Of these, 4 compounds, (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol, 4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene, 3-octanone, and one unidentified compound were emitted at higher levels than from the undamaged control plants. Synthetic (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol, 4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene, or 3-octanone all elicited a significant increase in oriented flight and landing on the source by the parasitoid, Encarsia formosa, in wind tunnel bioassays. Two-component mixtures of the compounds and the three-component mixture all elicited a similar or, in most cases, a better response by the parasitoid, the most effective being a mixture of (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol and 3-octanone. These results demonstrate that E. formosa uses volatiles from the plant-host complex as olfactory cues for host location.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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