Benzaldehyde in Yeast Protein Powder Attracts Insects Through Smell

Jenn Hoskins
14th May, 2024

Benzaldehyde in Yeast Protein Powder Attracts Insects Through Smell

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study by Northeast Forestry University identified benzaldehyde in beer yeast protein powder as a key attractant for the Oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis
  • Benzaldehyde was found to be most effective in attracting starved adult flies, highlighting the importance of the flies' physiological state
  • These findings can help develop more effective and environmentally friendly protein baits for controlling B. dorsalis populations
The Oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis, is a notorious pest that inflicts significant damage on a variety of fruit crops. Traditional chemical pesticides have proven to be of limited effectiveness, often leading to concerns about pesticide residues and the development of resistance. A promising alternative strategy is the use of protein bait attractant technology (BAT), which leverages the natural attraction of B. dorsalis to protein sources. However, the specific components within these protein sources that elicit such strong attraction are not fully understood. A recent study conducted by Northeast Forestry University aims to identify the behaviorally active components of beer yeast protein powder (BYPD) to enhance the development of more effective protein baits[1]. The study utilized a combination of analytical chemistry, behavioral tests, and electrophysiological techniques to investigate the components of BYPD that attract B. dorsalis. An olfactory trap assay confirmed that BYPD is indeed attractive to these fruit flies. Using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), the researchers identified five highly abundant components in the headspace volatiles of BYPD: ethanol, isoamyl alcohol, ethyl decanoate, benzaldehyde, and phenylethyl alcohol. Behavioral tests with mixtures of these components revealed that benzaldehyde, in particular, had a significant attraction effect on B. dorsalis adults. Interestingly, the study found that the attractiveness of benzaldehyde required a relatively large dose and was most effective on adults that had been starved from dusk until the following morning. This finding aligns with previous research indicating that the physiological state of insects, such as hunger, can modulate their olfactory responses[2]. Additionally, the attraction to benzaldehyde appeared to be primarily mediated by olfactory receptors. Electrophysiological data (EAG) suggested that while ionotropic receptors might influence the detection of benzaldehyde in female adults, they did not affect the females' behavioral response to it. The identification of benzaldehyde as a key behaviorally active component in BYPD provides valuable insights for the development of novel protein lures. These findings are particularly relevant when considering earlier studies that explored the feeding responses of B. dorsalis to various protein baits. For example, previous research demonstrated that B. dorsalis fed the longest on Provesta 621 autolyzed yeast extract compared to other baits, indicating a preference for certain protein sources over others[3]. The current study builds on this by pinpointing specific volatile compounds that could enhance the attractiveness of protein baits, thereby improving their efficacy. Moreover, the study's findings also resonate with broader research on the modulation of insect olfactory systems. It has been established that insects' olfactory sensitivity can vary depending on their physiological state and environmental context[4]. This study's observation that starved B. dorsalis adults are more attracted to benzaldehyde underscores the importance of considering these factors when developing pest control strategies. In summary, the research conducted by Northeast Forestry University has identified benzaldehyde as a crucial component in beer yeast protein powder that attracts B. dorsalis. This discovery offers a promising avenue for developing more effective and environmentally friendly protein baits. By incorporating insights from earlier studies on insect feeding behavior and olfactory modulation, this study provides a comprehensive understanding of how to optimize bait formulations to control B. dorsalis populations more effectively.

GeneticsBiochemAnimal Science


Main Study

1) Benzaldehyde acts as a behaviorally active component in brewer's yeast protein powder which attracts B. dorsalis through olfaction.

Published 13th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Temporal modulation and adaptive control of the behavioural response to odours in Rhodnius prolixus.

3) Effectiveness of protein baits on melon fly and oriental fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae): attraction and feeding.

Journal: Journal of economic entomology, Issue: Vol 99, Issue 4, Aug 2006

4) Plasticity in Insect Olfaction: To Smell or Not to Smell?

Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙