Dreams versus accomplished facts in pheromone technologies as exemplified in recent viticultural applications towards sustainable Lobesia management


Abstract: Developing Lobesia IPM from humble beginnings to todays’ state of the art was a laborious process extending over a period of 75 years. Eight identifiable technological steps along this arduous path to success can be distinguished: (1) first observations by Götz (1939) in vineyards established a method for quantitative measurement of Lobesia presence in vineyards by luring male Lobesia to crude extracts of virgin female Lobesia moths. (2) Butenandt (1939) envisioned a theoretical future of insect management by applying the principles of vertebrate hormone physiology to invertebrates. (3) Butenandt et al. (1959 and 1961) identified and then synthesized volatile exogenic emanations of “pheromones” in the silk moth Bombyx mori and first demonstrated the lipid nature of such pheromones as by-products of cell metabolism. This major discovery spawned explosive developments of pheromone physiology and application in IPM for dozens of problematic pest insect species all over the world, including the identification of the Lobesia sex pheromone by Roelofs et al. (1973) and Buser et al. (1974) as (E,Z)-7,9-dodecadienyl acetate. (4) Suitable polymeric dispenser materials for extended volatilization of pheromones were developed in the US by Leonhardt and Beroza (1982), in Europe (Neumann, 1990), and in Japan (Shin-Etsu Company). (5) Greiner and Wendorff (2007) developed electrospun organic biodegradable nanofibers/mesofibers and showed their ability for use in various technical applications. Seven patents by U.S., EU, and German patent offices were granted between 2011 and 2013. (6) Hummel et al. (2010-2012; 2014 a, b) and Hummel and Langner (2013) provided proof for pheromone inclusion into such fibers dispensers and their ability to serve as disruptants under field conditions. (7) Hummel et al. (2010 a, b), Hellmann et al. (2011) and Breuer et al. (2012; 2013) compared mesofiber dispensers with non-biodegradable commercial dispensers and found them to be competitive. (8) Lastly, Hummel et al. (2013; 2014 a, b) showed that these mesofiber dispensers could be mechanically deployed by existing vineyard machinery, thus saving time, application costs and resources.In conclusion, 75 years of basic and technical achievements in various fields of entomology, microanalytical and polymer chemistry, and technical engineering finally are merging into a mature and coherent IPM procedure satisfying most needs for viticultural (but also horticultural) requirement for insect IPM in row crops. The scope of applicabilities is by no means exhausted.

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