Date of this Version
Nature Sustainability. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-022-00949-x
Pheromones have become an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional insecticides for pest control. Most current pheromone-based pest control products target lepidopteran pests of high-value crops, as today’s manufacturing processes cannot yet produce pheromones at low enough costs to enable their use for lower-value crops, especially commodity crops. Camelina sativa seeds genetically modified to express (Z)-11-hexadecenoic acid, a sex pheromone precursor of several moth species, provided the oil from which the precursor was isolated, purified and transformed into the final pheromone. Trap lures containing this pheromone were then assessed for their capacity to manage moth pests in the field. Plant-derived pheromone lures proved equally effective as synthetic pheromone lures in monitoring the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella, in cabbage and disrupting mating of cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera, in common bean fields. Our study demonstrates the biological efficacy and economic feasibility of pheromone production in plant factories by metabolic engineering of an oilseed crop.