The sustainable control of vector is an essential part of the management strategies of plant pests. In this paper, scientists report responses of Philaenus spumarius, the Xylella fastidiosa vector in Europe, towards some Essential oils (EOs) and related plants.
EOs are an important source of organic volatile compounds (VOCs), biosynthesized in different plant organs, that can interfere with basic metabolic, biochemical, physiological, and behavioral functions of insects. Citronella, for example, is widely used as an insect repellent. The EOs rapid degradation in the environment reduces the risk of negative effect on non-target organisms. Moreover, their multiple mode of action lessens the probability of developing resistance.
Tests demonstrated that the peripheral olfactory system of P. spumarius females and males perceives volatile organic compounds present in the EOs of Pelargonium graveolens (rose-scent geranium), Cymbopogon nardus (citronella grass) and Lavandula officinalis (lavender) in a dose- dependent manner.
In behavioral bioassays, on long and short distance, males and females responded differently to the same odorant. Using EOs, a clear attraction was noted only for males towards lavender EO.
Conversely, plants elicited responses that varied upon the species, testing device and adult sex. Both lavender and geranium repelled females at any distance range. On the contrary, males were attracted by geranium and repelled by citronella. Finally, at close distance, lavender and citronella were repellent for females and males, respectively.
The results of the study contribute to the development of innovative tools and approaches, alternative to the use of synthetic pesticides, for the sustainable control of P. spumarius aiming to curb the spread of X. fastidiosa.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-59835-1 | via Nature Scientific Reports