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J Chem Ecol. 1994 Aug;20(8):1955-67. doi: 10.1007/BF02066236.

Plant-natural enemy association in tritrophic system,Cotesia rubecula-Pieris rapae-brassicaceae (Cruciferae). III: Collection and identification of plant and frass volatiles.

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Department of Entomology, Wageningen Agricultural University, P.O. Box 8031, 6700 EH, Wageningen, The Netherlands.


To elucidate the identity of the volatile compounds that could be involved in the searching behavior of the parasitoidCotesia rubecula Marshall (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), the volatiles released by cabbage and frass of Lepidoptera feeding on cabbage were collected and analyzed using a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer. The volatiles emitted by intact cabbage were α-pinene, β-pinene, myrcene, 1,8-cineole,n-hexyl acetate,cis-3-hexen-1-yl acetate, and dimethyl trisulfide. Mechanical damage on an intact plant induced the release of two more compounds,trans-2-hexenal and 1-methoxy-3-methylene-2-pentanone. Current feeding by larvae ofPieris rapae L. (Pieridae) induced the plant to release all the compounds released after mechanical damage and additionally 4-methyl-3-pentenal and allyl isothiocyanate. Current feeding by larvae ofPlutella xylostella L. (Plutellidae) induced the plant to release all the compounds present after mechanical damage and additionally allyl isothiocyanate. The volatiles emitted after feeding by the lepidopterans had ceased were the same as those emitted by cabbage damaged by mechanical means. The blend of volatiles emitted by frass was comprised of plant chemicals, mainly sulfur compounds. Frass ofP. rapae emitted allyl isothiocyanate, methyl isothiocyanate, methyl propyl sulfide, dimethyl trisulfide,S-methyl methane thiosulfinate, 4-methyl-3-pentenal,trans-2-hexenal, and 2,3-dihydro-4-methyl furan. Frass ofP. xylostella emitted only dimethyl trisulfide andS-methyl methane thiosulfinate. The blend of volatiles emitted by frass is herbivore-species specific.


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