Chemical Ecology

Plant Volatiles For Pest Management

Agricultural fields are multitrophic interactive system consisting of living and non-living components. Among the components, crop plants are the major hosting, interactive living components of the system. Though the complexity of agro ecosystem has been reduced through the evolving techniques and technology, till today there exists a micro ecological interactive complex built with plants and its surrounding. In due course of evolution plants have developed to respond to various stimuli encountered in an ecological system by rereleasing volatile organic compounds (VOC) which are the products of various secondary metabolic pathways. Using this VOC as cue the pest, predator, pathogen and parasites have evolved to find their respective hosts. So understanding such interaction between the plant and the respective insect would provide more knowledge to develop a biocontrol strategy in achieving the grip over safe guarding the crop losses incurred by pest damage and ex cess use of chemical pesticide which would suppress the activity of other living components of agro ecosystem. Department of biological sciences’ at VMSRF, as stepped in to understand such an interactive, cost effective relationship between the plant insect to develop a strategies to be implemented in integrated pest management. Tomato, a common leaf eating insect pest (Spodopter litura) and its predators are the model system to study the tri-trophic interaction in an agro ecosystem.