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Kergunteuil Alan

Crop protection with plant odors : behavioural maipulation of the cabbage root fly, Delia radicum, and natural enemies based on volatil organic compounds

PhD defended november 28th, 2013
Direction: Anne-Marie Cortesero & Sébastien Dugravot

Abstract:

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by plants are used by phytophagous, predatory and parasitoid insects to adjust behavioral decisions in complex environments. We aimed at using these ecological functions of VOCs in crop protection. We developed the first steps of a "Push-Pull" strategy toward the cabbage root fly (Delia radicum) with both dispensers of synthetic VOCs and natural blends of VOCs released by plants. We conducted a field study to select brassicaceous plants exhibiting contrasted levels of infestation toward the cabbage root fly. Laboratory bioassays combining behavioral observations and gas chromatographic analyses allowed to (i) investigate the relation between plant infestation and plant attractiveness (ii) identify novel VOCs involved in behavioral decisions of the cabbage root fly. Parallel field experiments were used to test the potential of dispensers of synthetic VOCs to (i) enhance natural enemies recruitment (ii) modify cabbage root fly behavior, attracting ("Pull" component) or repelling the pest ("Push" component). Finally, we demonstrated that attractive plants are promising for a trap crop approach enabling to redistribute cabbage root fly density at the field scale in order to protect main crop such as broccoli.