Identification of the Female Japanese Beetle Sex Pheromone: Inhibition of Male Response by an Enantiomer

Science  19 Aug 1977:
Vol. 197, Issue 4305, pp. 789-792
DOI: 10.1126/science.197.4305.789


(Z)-5-(1-Decenyl)dihydro-2(3H)-furanone, isolated from virgin female Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) attracted males of the species infield bioassays. However, the synthesized racemic mixture of this compound did not attract male Japanese beetles. The Z and E isomers and the saturated analog of both enantiomers of this compound were synthesized stereospecifically. Pure synthetic (R,Z)-5-(1-decenyl)dihydro-2(3H)-furanone was competitive with live females and with the pheromone isolated from live females in attracting males. Male response was strongly inhibited by small amounts of the S,Z isomer. Although the E isomer and the saturated analog of the pheromone are present in the material obtained from females, the role of these compounds in mediating the insect's behavior is unclear.