Experts from Lund University developed a cheaper way of producing artificial pheromones that can confuse insects and prevent them to find mates. Manufacturing artificial pheromones is complex and expensive. It can cost around US$1,000 to US$3,500 per kilogram, and an additional US$40 to US$400 deployment cost, depending on the type of pest. Thus, decreasing the cost to make pheromones will make this environmentally-friendly pest control accessible to farmers, especially in developing countries. Together with his collaborators from several countries, chemical ecologist Christer Löfstedt, has been engineering plants to produce the chemical building blocks needed for synthesizing pheromones. They used Camelina, a flowering plant with seeds rich in fatty acids, which are the key ingredients in making the raw materials. Using genetic engineering, they introduced a gene from the navel orangeworm which causes Camelina seeds to produce an essential fatty acid that is the precursor to mating pheromones. The team reported in Nature Sustainability that the pheromone traps they have developed worked as well as commercial synthetic pheromones.
Source: (Crop Biotech Update, International Service for Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications.