Findings may lead to new methods to control beetles, which have decimated Lake Tahoe and Western forests
University of Nevada, Reno scientists have ended a decade-long controversy over the process by which bark beetles make pheromones: they manufacture their own monoterpenes – the fragrant substances plants produce and which are often used in perfumes. It had been thought that insects and other animals were incapable of making these substances.
"The goal of our research is ultimately to control pheromone production," said Gary Blomquist, professor and chair of biochemistry and molecular biology, who co-authored with several members of his department an article that will be published this week(June 27 – July 1) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Bark beetles plague pine forests, especially when the trees are stressed. The Lake Tahoe basin lost 30 percent of its pines to bark beetle infestation during the 1986-1994 drought, according to Blomquist.
Melanie Robbins | EurekAlert!
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