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      Tools in the Investigation of Volatile Semiochemicals on Insects: From Sampling to Statistical Analysis

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          The recognition of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) involved in insect interactions with plants or other organisms is essential for constructing a holistic comprehension of their role in ecology, from which the implementation of new strategies for pest and disease vector control as well as the systematic exploitation of pollinators and natural enemies can be developed. In the present paper, some of the general methods employed in this field are examined, focusing on their available technologies. An important part of the investigations conducted in this context begin with VOC collection directly from host organisms, using classical extraction methods, by the employment of adsorption materials used in solid-phase micro extraction (SPME) and direct-contact sorptive extraction (DCSE) and, subsequently, analysis through instrumental analysis techniques such as gas chromatography (GC), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectrometry (MS), which provide crucial information for determining the chemical identity of volatile metabolites. Behavioral experiments, electroantennography (EAG), and biosensors are then carried out to define the semiochemicals with the best potential for performing relevant functions in ecological relationships. Chemical synthesis of biologically-active VOCs is alternatively performed to scale up the amount to be used in different purposes such as laboratory or field evaluations. Finally, the application of statistical analysis provides tools for drawing conclusions about the type of correlations existing between the diverse experimental variables and data matrices, thus generating models that simplify the interpretation of the biological roles of VOCs.

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          Solid phase microextraction with thermal desorption using fused silica optical fibers

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            Practical approaches to plant volatile analysis.

            Plants emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that play important roles in their interaction with the environment and have a major impact on atmospheric chemistry. The development of static and dynamic techniques for headspace collection of volatiles in combination with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis has significantly improved our understanding of the biosynthesis and ecology of plant VOCs. Advances in automated analysis of VOCs have allowed the monitoring of fast changes in VOC emissions and facilitated in vivo studies of VOC biosynthesis. This review presents an overview of methods for the analysis of plant VOCs, including their advantages and disadvantages, with a focus on the latest technical developments. It provides guidance on how to select appropriate instrumentation and protocols for biochemical, physiological and ecologically relevant applications. These include headspace analyses of plant VOCs emitted by the whole organism, organs or enzymes as well as advanced on-line analysis methods for simultaneous measurements of VOC emissions with other physiological parameters.
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              Navigational strategies used by insects to find distant, wind-borne sources of odor.

              Insects locate many resources important to survival by tracking along wind-borne odor plumes to their source. It is well known that plumes are patchy distributions of high concentration packets of odor interspersed with clean air, not smooth Gaussian distributions of odor intensity. This realization has been crucial to our understanding of plume-tracking behavior, because insect locomotory movements and sensory processing typically take place in the range of tens to hundreds of milliseconds, permitting them to respond to the rapid changes in odor concentration they experience in plumes. Because odor plumes are not comprised of smooth concentration gradients, they cannot provide the directional information necessary to allow plume-tracking insects to steer toward the source. Many experiments have shown that, in the species examined, successful source location requires two sensory inputs: the presence of the attractive odor and the detection of the direction of the wind bearing that odor. All plume-tracking insects use the wind direction as the primary directional cue that enables them to steer their movements toward the odor source. Experimental manipulations of the presence and absence of the odor, and the presence, absence, or direction of the wind during plume tracking, have begun to resolve the relationship between these two sensory inputs and how they shape the maneuvers we observe. Experiments, especially those undertaken in the natural wind and odor environments of the organisms in question and those directed at understanding the neural processing that underlie plume tracking, promise to enhance our understanding of this remarkable behavior.

                Author and article information

                06 August 2019
                August 2019
                : 10
                : 8
                [1 ]Biological Control Laboratory, Facultad de Ciencias Básicas y Aplicadas, Universidad Militar Nueva Granada, Cajicá 250247, Colombia
                [2 ]Bioorganic Chemistry Laboratory, Facultad de Ciencias Básicas y Aplicadas, Universidad Militar Nueva Granada, Cajicá 250247, Colombia
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: ericsson.coy@ (E.C.-B.); daniel.rodriguez@ (D.R.); Tel.: +57-1-6500000 (ext. 3270) (E.C.-B.); +57-1-6500000 (ext. 3269) (D.R.)
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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