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Insect-Plant-Microorganism Interactions Affecting Corn Quality and Safety

Petroski, Richard; Bartelt, Robert
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
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  1. Characterize the progressive infestation of corn fields by nitidulid beetles with respect to natural chemical attractants and ecological interactions among beetles, microorganisms, and corn.
  2. Further describe nitidulid and other beetle species pheromone biology and chemistry.
  3. Elucidate nature of antennal pheromone receptors.
  4. Support efforts to use nitidulid pheromones for practical pest management.
More information
Conduct chemical analyses on volatile emissions from natural beetle infestations and from component parts (e.g., isolated microorganism cultures, beetles,and corn tissues of various developmental stages). Use wind-tunnel bioassays to evaluate attractiveness of biological components associated chemicals to beetles. Pay particular attention to interactions involving mycotoxin-producing fungi. Develop a chemical-biological model of how beetle infestation begins and spreads. Use volatile-collection and wind-tunnel-bioassay techniques to isolate pheromones from unstudied, economically important nitidulids and other beetles. Combine molecular-modeling computer technology with organic synthesis of pheromone analogs and behavioral bioassays to achieve better understanding of pheromone perception at molecular level. Collaborate with other scientists in practical research on beetle management (e.g., by isolating, identifying, and supplying pheromone).
Funding Source
Agricultural Research Service
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