Sunday, September 27, 2009

Alternates to pheromones ?

I studied about the pheromones when I was doing my post graduation and the professor, who taught us has worked with Dr. H.C. Brown (Nobel Laureate, for his contribution to the field of Organo Boranes) made us understand what are pheromones, how they are prepared and how actually they attract the insects. I think the field has been widely accepted. As for as my knowledge goes the preparation of pheromones is a costly affair (via , organo boranes). Recently I found this interesting article, where in the researchers claim that with the help of alternate chemicals (other than pheromones) one can send insects off the scent of crops.

Dr. Antony Hooper of Rothamsted Research, an institute of BBSRC said, one way in which insects find each other and their hosts is by smell, or more accurately: the detection of chemical signals – pheromones, for example. Insects smell chemicals with their antennae; the chemical actually gets into the antennae of the insect and then attaches to a protein called an odorant-binding protein, or OBP. This then leads to the insect changing its behavior in some way in response to the smell, for example, flying towards a plant or congregating with other insects (that is what we were taught..) But the more interesting part of the research is .....studying an OBP found in the silkworm moth Bombyx mori, Dr Hooper and his team were able to look at how the OBP and a relevant pheromone interact. They also tested the interaction between OBP and other molecules (that are similar to, but not the same as, the pheromone). They actually found that there are other compounds that bind to the OBP much more strongly than the pheromone.

The researchers could potentially apply these compounds, in some way to block the insects’ ability to detect chemical signals – the smell would be overwhelmed by the one they introduced. and by doing so the researchers expect the insects to be less likely to orientate themselves towards the crop plants, or find mates in this case, and therefore could reduce the damage. Though still lot of work has to be done, its a good beginning.

Hope this new and innovative way to prevent and control pests and diseases will be a success in the days to come. I wish every success in their endeavor...

Congrats Dr. Antony Hooper and co-workers..

Ref :
http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/media/releases/2009/090924_scientists_discover_how_to_send_insects_of_the_scent.html

2 comments:

B. Nicholson said...

Nicholson B., Pheromones cause disease: pheromone/odourant transduction. Med Hypotheses. 2001 Sep;57(3):361-77.
Nicholson B., Pheromones cause disease: the exocrinology of anorexia nervosa. Med Hypotheses. 2000 Mar;54(3):438-43.
Nicholson B., Does kissing aid human bonding by semiochemical addiction? Br J Dermatol. 1984 Nov;111(5):623-7.
Nicholson B., Pheromones cause disease: the electrodeposition mechanism of atherosclerosis. In press.

Syn-chemist said...

Hi Nicholson,

Thanks for ur comments.

1. I wanted say something about pheromones (starting from organo boranes, many workers have tried to prepare pheromons like.."http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/om00041a029".) and how these pheromones have been used as " sex attractant pheromones".

2.Author(s) "Dr. Antony Hooper" et. al., have used the basis of pheromones to find the other chemicals and that is why the comparison.

3. I am not an expert in the field of pheromones.

Anyway thanq very much for the info, ...