Aldehyde Pheromones in Lepidoptera: Evidence for an Acetate Ester Precursor in Choristoneura fumiferana

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Science  21 Dec 1984:
Vol. 226, Issue 4681, pp. 1434-1436
DOI: 10.1126/science.226.4681.1434


Labeling studies of the eastern spruce budworm in vivo indicate that trans-11-tetradecenyl acetate is synthesized specifically in the pheromone-producing gland and is degraded in concert with pheromone release; hence it may be a precursor to the trans-11-tetradecenal pheromone. Radioactivity from exogenously added labeled fatty acids did not appear to be directly incorporated into the ester, suggesting that de novo biosynthesis from acetate is the major route of ester biosynthesis. Conversion of the acetate ester to alcohol and aldehyde functional groups may be the principal method of regulating pheromone specificity between species of Choristoneura.