Unique measuring methods helps us understand the insects chemical communication signals

Save favourite 24 Apr April 2018
Tetropium gabrieli (Lärkbock) was found for the first time in 2009 in the southern parts of Sweden. Photo: Mid Sweden University.

With the help of new advanced equipment we can understand the languages of the insects and develop environmentally friendly methods of control against insect damage in the forest. Mid Sweden University has invested SEK two million in the equipment currently being tested on the insect Tetropium gabrieli.

The measuring equipment consists of a gas detector with mass detector in combination with an electrode detector. The equipment in this configuration is unique in Sweden, and other institutions have already contacted us to develop collaboration and use the equipment.

"We use the antennas of the insect and measure how they react when any chemical substance in the extracts hits the antenna. We can measure nerve impulses electrically and get different rashes depending on which substance is added. Our goal is to develop environmentally friendly and ecological methods using specific feronoms. It can be useful methods of monitoring insects or catching as many harmful insects as possible when we get bigger outbreaks, "says Joakim Bång, researcher at Fibre Science and Communication Network, FSCN research centre, Mid Sweden University.

Tetropium gabrieli was found for the first time in 2009 in southern parts of Sweden and is not yet available in the north of Sweden, but with warmer climates it is likely to slowly move farther north. On the other hand, bark beetles are a common damage insect in our region, which harasses forestry economically by killing trees.

The measuring equipment consists of a gas detector with mass detector in combination with an electrode detector.

"Measuring chemical pheromones excreted from insects or from host plants. The number of species of damage insects in forests and land increases as a result of climate change. At Mid Sweden University we have many years of advanced research in organic chemistry, which includes studying chemical pheromones and development of environmentally friendly technologies to protect trees from harmful insects, "says Erik Hedenström, Professor of Organic Chemistry at FSCN.

Following the recent epidemic outbreak of bark beetles, there is an immediate acute need for further development and implementation of effective capture methods for the monitoring and control of pomegranate bushes and double-eyed bark beetles.

The research is carried out with support from the EU Regional Development Fund, Region Västernorrland and Region Jämtland Härjedalen, and is expected to continue until 2020. The project includes the partner companies Callans Trä, Sylvestris, Norrplant, Persson Invest Skog, Skogsstyrelsen,, Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet and Brattå Foundation.

Read more on BESKA research project

Contacts
Joakim Bång, researcher FSCN research centre
Erik Hedenström, professor of Organic Chemistry, FSCN research centre


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