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See detailThe composition of cuticular compounds indicates body parts, sex and age in the model butterfly Bicyclus anynana (Lepidoptera)
Heuskin, Stéphanie ULg; Vanderplanck, Maryse; Bacquet, Paul et al

in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (2014), 2:37

Chemical communication in insects’ sexual interactions is well-known to involve olfaction of volatile compounds called sex pheromones. In theory, sexual chemical communication may also involve chemicals ... [more ▼]

Chemical communication in insects’ sexual interactions is well-known to involve olfaction of volatile compounds called sex pheromones. In theory, sexual chemical communication may also involve chemicals with low or no volatility exchanged during precopulatory gustatory contacts. Yet, knowledge on this latter type of chemicals is so far mostly restricted to the Drosophila fly model. Here we provide the most comprehensive characterization to date of the cuticular chemical profile, including both volatile and non-volatile compounds, of a model butterfly, Bicyclus anynana. First, we characterized the body distribution of 103 cuticular lipids, mostly alkanes and methyl-branched alkanes, by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Second, we developed a multivariate statistical approach to cope with such complex chemical profiles and showed that variation in the presence or abundance of a subset of the cuticular lipids indicated body parts, and traits involved in B. anynana mate choice, namely sex and age. Third, we identified the chemical structure of the 20 most indicative compounds, which were on average more abundant (1346.4 ± 1994.6 ng; mean ± SD) than other, likely less indicative, compounds (225.9 ± 507.2 ng; mean ± SD). Fourth, we showed that wings and legs displayed most of the chemical information found on the entire body of the butterflies. Fifth, we showed that non-random gustatory contacts occurred between specific male and female body parts during courtship. The body parts mostly touched by the conspecific displayed the largest between-sex differentiation in cuticular composition. Altogether, the large diversity of cuticular lipids in B. anynana, which exceeds the one of Drosophila flies, and its non-random distribution and evaluation across individuals, together suggest that gustatory information is likely exchanged during sexual interactions in Lepidoptera. [less ▲]

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See detailTemperature regimes and aphid density interactions differentially influence VOC emissions in Arabidopsis
Hien, Truong Thi Dieu ULg; Delory, Benjamin ULg; Vanderplanck, Maryse et al

in Arthropod-Plant Interactions (2014)

The effects of volatile emissions from plants exposed to individual abiotic and biotic stresses are well documented. However, the influence of multiple stresses on plant photosynthesis and defense ... [more ▼]

The effects of volatile emissions from plants exposed to individual abiotic and biotic stresses are well documented. However, the influence of multiple stresses on plant photosynthesis and defense responses, resulting in a variety of volatile profiles has received little attention. In this study, we investigated how temperature regimes in the presence and absence of the sucking insect Myzus persicae affected volatile organic compound emissions in Arabidopsis over three time periods (0-24 h, 24-48 h, and 48-72 h). Headspace solid-phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry was used to evaluate Arabidopsis volatile organic compounds. The results showed that under laboratory conditions, eight volatile classes [alcohols (mainly 2-ethyl-hexan-1-ol), ketone (6-methyl hept-5-en-2-one), esters (mainly (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate), aldehydes (mainly phenylacetaldehyde), isothiocyanates (mainly 4-methylpentyl isothiocyanate), terpenes (mainly (E,E)-α-farnesene), nitrile (5-(methylthio) pentanenitrile), and sulfide (dimethyl trisulfide)] were observed on plants exposed to stress combinations, whereas emissions of six volatile classes were observed during temperature stress treatments alone (with the exception of nitriles and sulfides). Aphid density at high temperature combinations resulted in significantly higher isothiocyanate, ester, nitrile and sulfide proportions. The results of the present study provide an insight into the effects of temperature - aphid interactions on plant volatile emissions. [less ▲]

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See detailBelgian Grasshoppers: A Nutritious Food Source
Paul, Aman ULg; Frederich, Michel ULg; Blecker, Christophe ULg et al

Poster (2014, May 14)

Rapid urbanization and rising economies are creating shifts in the composition of global food demand, so it is necessary to explore new sources of food with better nutritional profile. Among the ... [more ▼]

Rapid urbanization and rising economies are creating shifts in the composition of global food demand, so it is necessary to explore new sources of food with better nutritional profile. Among the alternative food that exists are the grasshoppers, about 80 species of which are consumed worldwide. Grasshoppers are not only rich source of proteins and lipids but also some important minor component like vitamins and minerals. Edible species of grasshopper in Belgium were identified and attempts were made for the lab rearing of meadow grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus). The lipids as well as protein contents of meadow grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus) & long winged conehead (Conocephalus discolor) were investigated. The fatty acid compositions of these two species were determined by gas chromatography. Some of the physicochemical properties of the lipids extracted were also analyzed. These two grasshopper species could be really nutritious source of food. [less ▲]

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See detailA pheromone-based formulation against phytophagous pests
Fassotte, Bérénice ULg; Vandereycken, Axel ULg; Heuskin, Stéphanie ULg et al

Poster (2014, April 02)

Innovative integrated pest management methods are needed to overcome market withdrawal of synthetic pesticides. Therefore, the identification of environment-friendly bio-products carrying direct or ... [more ▼]

Innovative integrated pest management methods are needed to overcome market withdrawal of synthetic pesticides. Therefore, the identification of environment-friendly bio-products carrying direct or indirect biocide activity is one promising alternative option. Our researches focus on the identification of appropriate formulations releasing volatile organic compounds that are attractive for natural enemies of insect pests. However, the elaboration of slow-release devices that ensure stable and controlled release of active volatile compounds is quite challenging. Here, we developed a formulation based on E-β-farnesene and (–)-β-caryophyllene, these two semiochemicals having strong attractive potential on aphid natural enemies including ladybeetles and hoverflies. Both compounds were encapsulated together in alginate gel beads. The blend efficiency is currently being evaluated through laboratory and field assays. [less ▲]

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See detailChemical analyses of the seeds from Prunella vulgaris: A chemotaxonomic approach
Paul, Aman ULg; Frederich, Michel ULg; Cieckiewicz, Ewa ULg et al

Poster (2014, April)

Common self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) plants are traditionally sown along the border of crops to enhance the biodiversity. Besides enhancing the biodiversity, they can also be a source of interesting ... [more ▼]

Common self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) plants are traditionally sown along the border of crops to enhance the biodiversity. Besides enhancing the biodiversity, they can also be a source of interesting compounds which could be important for food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. The seeds of Common Yarrow were investigated for proteins, fatty acid compositions and polyphenolic compounds. The protein content was analyzed according to Dumas method, the extraction of oil was done using a cold extraction technique employing 2:1 chloroform/methanol as solvent, the fatty acid composition was determined using the gas chromatography and the amount of polyphenolic compounds were estimated using the method as described in European Pharmacopoeia, 8th edition. Common self-heal seeds can be of great commercial importance. [less ▲]

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See detailSome Interesting Sources of Plant Seed Oil
Paul, Aman ULg; Danthine, Sabine ULg; Blecker, Christophe ULg et al

Poster (2014, March 05)

There is a growing realization worldwide that biodiversity is fundamental to agricultural production and food security, as well as a valuable ingredient of environmental conservation. Flowering strips ... [more ▼]

There is a growing realization worldwide that biodiversity is fundamental to agricultural production and food security, as well as a valuable ingredient of environmental conservation. Flowering strips around the border of the crops serves as an important function to improve the biodiversity, besides this they play a major role in the ruminant nutrition and serve as a source of numerous beneficial compounds. It is well known that seeds store their food reserves for next generation mainly in the form of lipids; some of the seeds from these flowering strips could be an interesting source of lipids. These seed oils could play important role in food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and other industries. The extraction of seed oil from four such plant species in Belgium namely Oregano (Origanum vulgare), Yellow Bedstraw (Galium verum), Common Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) & Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) was carried out. Extraction was done by a cold extraction technique using chloroform/methanol in 2:1 ratio as solvent. Amount of oil extracted from Oregano, Yellow Bedstraw, Common Self-heal and Purple loosestrife was 22.58±0.03 %, 3.28±0.01 %, 14.84±0.12 % & 20.32±0.15 %. The fatty acid profiles of these four species were determined by gas chromatography (using methyl esters of their fatty acids); Oleic acid and Linoleic acid were found in all the four species, Gamma-linolenic acid was found in Purple loosestrife & Alpha-linolenic acid was found in Oregano and Common Self-heal plant species. Thermal behaviour of these four plant seed oils were analyzed using Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), while some other physicochemical properties of the seed oils were also analyzed. These plant seed oils can be of great commercial importance. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification of 1-methyloctyl butanoate as the major sex pheromone component from females of the saddle gall midge, Haplodiplosis marginata (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae)
Censier, Florence ULg; Fischer, Christophe ULg; Laurent, Pascal et al

in Chemoecology (2014)

The saddle gall midge, Haplodiplosis marginata (von Roser) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), has undergone a resurgence recently as a pest of cereals in Belgium and other European countries. An effective ... [more ▼]

The saddle gall midge, Haplodiplosis marginata (von Roser) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), has undergone a resurgence recently as a pest of cereals in Belgium and other European countries. An effective monitoring tool of saddle gall midge flights is needed in order to understand the enigmatic population dynamics of this pest, and to design an integrated management strategy. Therefore, volatile compounds emitted by females (alkan-2-ols and alk-2-yl butanoates) were identified, and the chirality of the emitted esters was determined to be the R absolute configuration. In field-trapping experiments, racemic non-2-yl butanoate attracted substantial numbers of H. marginata males. Thus, this compound will be useful in baited traps for monitoring seasonal flight patterns, and improving integrated management of the saddle gall midge in agricultural systems. [less ▲]

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See detailVOC emissions and protein expression mediated by the interactions between herbivorous insects and Arabidopsis plant. A review
Hien, Truong Thi Dieu ULg; Heuskin, Stéphanie ULg; Delaplace, Pierre ULg et al

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement = Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment [=BASE] (2014), 18(3), 455-464

Herbivorous insects, such as phloem-sap feeders and chewers, induce resistance response in plants. There is a long-standing hypothesis that herbivores increase the emission of volatile organic compounds ... [more ▼]

Herbivorous insects, such as phloem-sap feeders and chewers, induce resistance response in plants. There is a long-standing hypothesis that herbivores increase the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the Arabidopsis plant model. However, most works were restricted to the study of the regulation of plant VOC emissions and only in some cases to the effects of insects on such emissions. Often these investigations do not establish a link between quantitative and qualitative emission of plant VOCs with actual damages caused by insects. Moreover, information remain limited about the processes that occur at the protein level encoded of the host plant under stress conditions. Here, we briefly summarize the effects of specific chewing and phloem-sap feeding insects on the emission of VOCs by Arabidopsis thaliana Col-0, and review some predictions about pathogenesis-related proteins, based on current evolutionary hypotheses. Further investigation of the effects of herbivorous insects on VOC emissions and protein expression is expected to improve our knowledge about their patterns and functions in plant responses to stresses. [less ▲]

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See detailThe facultative bacterial symbiont Serratia symbiotica in Acyrtosiphon pisum confer resistance to Aphidius ervi
Attia, Sabrine; Foray, Vincent; Louâpres, Philippe et al

Poster (2014)

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See detailDoes the facultative bacteria Serratia symbiotica influence the foraging strategies of aphid parasitoids?
Attia, Sabrine; Louâpre, Philippe; Foray, Vincent et al

Poster (2014)

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See detailL'étude des sémiochimiques. Applications en écologie chimique
Heuskin, Stéphanie ULg

Scientific conference (2013, November 21)

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See detailFumigant toxicity of Mentha pulegium and Citrus aurantium essential oils to Tetranychus urticae (Acari: Tetranychidae) and Phytoseiulus persimilis (Acari: Phytoseiidae)
Attia, Sabrine; Grissa, K.L.; Lognay, Georges ULg et al

in Boeckx; Bossier, Peter; Smagghe, Guy (Eds.) et al Proceedings of the 65th international symposium on crop protection (2013, May 21)

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See detailDéveloppements analytiques appliqués à une thématique d'écologie chimique
Heuskin, Stéphanie ULg

Scientific conference (2013, February)

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See detailDissecting the mechanisms underlying old male mating advantage in a butterfly
Karl, Isabell; Heuskin, Stéphanie ULg; Fischer, Klaus

in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology (2013)

Selection is expected to maximize an individual’s own genetic reward regardless of the potential fitness consequences for its sexual partners, which may cause sexual conflict. Although performance in ... [more ▼]

Selection is expected to maximize an individual’s own genetic reward regardless of the potential fitness consequences for its sexual partners, which may cause sexual conflict. Although performance in holometabolous insects typically diminishes with age, old male mating advantage has been documented in a few species. Whether this pattern arises from female preference for older males based on, e.g., pheromone blends (intersexual selection), or from increased eagerness to mate in older compared to younger males is currently debated. We explore the mechanistic basis of old male mating advantage, using a series of experiments including behavioral as well as manipulative approaches, in the tropical butterfly Bicyclus anynana. Consistent with the residual reproductive value hypothesis, old male mating advantage was associated with a greater eagerness to mate, evidenced by a two times higher flying and courting activity in older than in younger males. In contrast, we found only limited support for a contribution of female preference for older males based on pheromone composition, although male sex pheromones clearly do play a role in mating success. Our results suggest that male behavior may play a primary role in old male mating advantage, and that pheromones are likely of secondary importance only. Male mating success was related to higher overall pheromone titers rather than variation in a single component. A dominant importance of male behavior in determining mating success may result in sexual conflict. [less ▲]

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See detailThe scent of inbreeding: male sex pheromones betray inbred males
van Bergen, Erik; Brakefield, Paul M.; Heuskin, Stéphanie ULg et al

in Proceedings of the Royal Society B : Biological Sciences (2013)

Inbreeding depression results from mating among genetically related individuals and impairs reproductive success. The decrease in male mating success is usually attributed to an impact on multiple fitness ... [more ▼]

Inbreeding depression results from mating among genetically related individuals and impairs reproductive success. The decrease in male mating success is usually attributed to an impact on multiple fitness-related traits that reduce the general condition of inbred males. Here, we find that the production of the male sex pheromone is reduced significantly by inbreeding in the butterfly Bicyclus anynana. Other traits indicative of the general condition, including flight performance, are also negatively affected in male butterflies by inbreeding. Yet, we unambiguously show that only the production of male pheromones affects mating success. Thus, this pheromone signal informs females about the inbreeding status of their mating partners. We also identify the specific chemical component, hexadecanal, probably responsible for the decrease in male mating success. Our results advocate giving increased attention to olfactory communication as a major causal factor of mate-choice decisions and sexual selection. [less ▲]

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See detailAnalysis of the diastereoisomers of alliin by HPLC
DETHIER, Bérénice ULg; Laloux, Morgan ULg; Hanon, Emilien et al

in Talanta (2012), 101

Garlic has been known for its therapeutic effects for centuries and is used worldwide as a functional food. The concentration of the active molecules could be enhanced by a better knowledge of their ... [more ▼]

Garlic has been known for its therapeutic effects for centuries and is used worldwide as a functional food. The concentration of the active molecules could be enhanced by a better knowledge of their biosynthesis. The precursor of these compounds, alliin (a sulfur amino-acid) has been obtained by chemical synthesis. However, this synthesis route also leads to a diastereoisomer as co-product. This work describes the development of an analytical method which allows the separation and quantification of the two diastereoisomers in order to determine in which proportion the natural form can be produced. The HPLC method which was optimized and validated by accuracy profile exploits an original stationary phase consisting of porous graphitic carbon (PGC). Furthermore, the developped method was used to separate the diastereoisomers of methiin, another garlic cysteine sulfoxide, and to analyse and aqueous extract of garlic. The ability to quantify the amount of natural alliin is valuable for further work on garlic molecules and their application for health protection. [less ▲]

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See detailHoneydew volatile emission acts as a kairomonal message for the Asian lady beetle Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)
Leroy, Pascal; Heuskin, Stéphanie ULg; Sabri, Ahmed ULg et al

in Insect Science (2012), 19(4), 498-506

The Asian lady beetle Harmonia axyridis Pallas is considered as an invasive species in most territories where it has been introduced. Because aphid honeydew acts as an attractant for many aphid predators ... [more ▼]

The Asian lady beetle Harmonia axyridis Pallas is considered as an invasive species in most territories where it has been introduced. Because aphid honeydew acts as an attractant for many aphid predators and parasitoids, the objectives of this work were to collect and identify the volatile compounds released from the aphid excretory product to evaluate how these semiochemicals could affect the H. axyridis foraging behavior. Twelve volatile chemicals were identified from the Megoura viciae Buckton honeydew including four alcohols, three ketones, three aldehydes, a pyrazine and a monoterpene. The volatiles 3-methyl-1-butanol and 3-methyl-butanal were highlighted as the two most abundant semiochemicals released from the M. viciae honeydew. Vicia faba L. plants treated with crude honeydew attracted more than 80% of the tested individuals with 40% of attracted beetles located on the plant. Four volatile compounds (3-hydroxy-2-butanone, 3-methyl-butanal, 3-methyl-1-butanol and limonene) were also highlighted to attract more than 75% of the coccinellids toward the odor source and to locate about 35% of them on the plants. Limonenewas the most efficient attractant since 89% of the H. axyridis responded to this odor. The use of the identified semiochemicals aswell as the composition of an artificial honeydew could certainly be helpful to control the dispersal of the Asian lady beetle H. axyridis. [less ▲]

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See detailDevelopment of semiochemical slow-release formulations as biological control devices
Heuskin, Stéphanie ULg; Lorge, Stéphanie ULg; Leroy, Pascal ULg et al

Poster (2012, July)

Semiochemicals have been widely considered within various integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. In the present work, two sesquiterpenoids, E-β-farnesene and E-β-caryophyllene, were formulated for ... [more ▼]

Semiochemicals have been widely considered within various integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. In the present work, two sesquiterpenoids, E-β-farnesene and E-β-caryophyllene, were formulated for their related properties as aphid enemy attractants. E-β-farnesene, the alarm pheromone of many aphid species, was also identified as a kairomone of aphid predators (Episyrphus balteatus De Geer (Diptera: Syrphidae)) and parasitoids (Aphidius ervi Haliday (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)). E-β-caryophyllene was identified as a potential component of the aggregation pheromone of the Asian ladybird, Harmonia axyridis Pallas, another aphid predator. The two products were purified from essential oils of Matricaria chamomilla L. (Asteraceae) and Nepeta cataria L. (Lamiaceae) for E-β-farnesene and E-β-caryophyllene, respectively. Natural and biodegradable slow-release formulations were then investigated in order to deliver these molecules on crop fields for a long period of time as biological control devices. Due to their sensitivity to oxidation, both sesquiterpenes needed to be protected from degradation. For this purpose, alginate – hydrophilic matrix with low oxygen permeability – was used as polymer for the formulations: the main objective was to deliver semiochemical substances in the air in a controlled way. Consequently, a careful selection of alginates was realised. Formulated beads showed different structural and encapsulation properties depending on various formulation factors. Alginate formulations were characterized by texturometry and by confocal microscopy in order to observe the distribution of semiochemicals in alginate network. The last step of alginate bead characterisation consisted in studying release rate of semiochemicals in laboratory-controlled conditions by optimised trapping and validated Fast-GC procedures. Finally, the efficiency of formulations as aphid predator (Syrphidae) and parasitoid (A. ervi) attractants was demonstrated by field trapping and olfactometry experiments. [less ▲]

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See detailExpanding on olfactory communication in a butterfly: cuticular chemicals indicate sex and age in Bicyclus anynana
Heuskin, Stéphanie ULg; Kaltenpoth, M.; Engl, T. et al

in International Society of Chemical Ecology, 28th Annual Meeting. Abstracts (2012, July)

Chemical (olfactory or gustatory) communication is fundamental to most living organisms but widely understudied compared to other channels of communication such as vision and audition, principally in ... [more ▼]

Chemical (olfactory or gustatory) communication is fundamental to most living organisms but widely understudied compared to other channels of communication such as vision and audition, principally in sexual selection . Here we present the first extensive analysis of cuticular chemical diversity in a butterfly, and investigate whether molecules inform potential mating partners about sex and age. Bicyclus anynana was chosen for its well-known potentialities as a lab model in eco-evo-devo studies , . Chemical interactions have been investigated so far in this species with focus on volatile olfactory components: male sexual pheromones composition and their roles in sexual selection , , their change in ratio with male age, inbreeding coefficient, and other factors . Here we aim completing the picture fully and focus on gustatory non-volatile cuticular chemical diversity in this model species. Indeed, as for Drosophila, the courtship of this butterfly is composed of a series of steps that include short-range interactions during which various chemicals may be involved in mate-choice, through olfactory but also gustatory channels of communication (Nieberding et al., data not published). More than hundred cuticular chemicals were identified and quantified by GC-MS analyses on different parts (abdomen, antennae, head, legs and wings) of B. anynana individuals (n=42, 210 GC-MS analyses) of each sex and at different ages (from 1 to 21 days old). The analysis of the chemical distribution was realised by multivariate statistical analyses (perMANOVA). The results led to the conclusion that some cuticular chemicals are indicative for the body parts and can inform about sex and age. [less ▲]

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