CHARACTERIZATION OF VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS RELEASED BY STORED GRAIN INSECTS
Detecting the presence of insects at low densities can avoid total deterioration of stored grains because corrective actions can be implemented early. Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) and Cryptolestes ferrugineus (Stephens) are the major insect pests of the Canadian grain handling industry. Identification of the volatile organic compounds released by insects can be used to detect insects in stored grains. An attempt was made to identify the volatile organic compounds released by T. castaneum and C. ferrugineus by headspace analysis. The volatiles in the head space of vials with insects, insects and wheat flour, and insects and wheat, were analyzed using a GC-MS coupled with an automatic headspace sampler. Wheat with fifteen percent moisture content was used in this study along with two different insect densities. Feasibility of the automatic headspace sampler in headspace analysis was found to be positive. The sampler can do sample conditioning, absorption, trap cleaning and desorption of the volatiles into the GC-MS and speed up the process. The samples extracted at 20 strokes with 1000 µL per stroke, and desorbed at 250°C gave a clear peak of compounds. The amount of volatiles produced by T. castaneum adults varied based on insect densities, the concentration of Methyl-1, 4-benzoquinone; Ethyl-1, 4-benzoquinone; and 1-Tridecene released by ten adult insects were 355, 390 and 530 µg/L compared to 300,310 and 210 µg/L of Methyl-1, 4-benzoquinone; Ethyl-1, 4-benzoquinone; and 1-Tridecene produced by five adult insects. Extreme high and low temperature leading to death produced very high amounts of volatiles compared to insects kept at 35°C. The larvae of the T. castaneum insects did not produce any volatiles at ambient condition as well as at extreme cold and warm conditions. The C. ferrugineus adults did not produced any detectable amount of volatiles even at the higher insect density after up to 3 days. The results of the combination of T. castaneum and C. ferrugineus insects gave the same volatile organic compounds as produced by T. castaneum insects alone. The 1-Tridecene produced by T. castaneum was not reported previously in other studies.
Gas Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry, Volatile Organic Compounds, Quantification