ResearchResearch projects
Die Rolle von Semiochemikalien und assoziierten Mikroorganismen für die Wirtspflanze-Herbivor Interaktion des Kaffeekirschenbohrers Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

Basics of host-plant-herbivore interactions of the coffee berry borer <i>Hypothenemus hampei</i> (Ferrari) (Coleoptera:Curculionidae) controlled by semiochemicals and associated microbial populations

Led by:  Prof. Dr. H.-M. Poehling
Team:  Dr. Juliana Jaramillo
Year:  2010
Funding:  DFG
Duration:  2010 to 2013

In spite of many decades of research, the coffee berry borer <i>Hypothenemus hampei</i> remains the most important pest of coffee throughout the world, causing serious economic losses to more than 100 million people in the tropics. Among the main reasons for this, are the still poorly understood biology and ecology, and especially the chemical ecology of the insect. The here proposed research project aims at contributing to filling some of these knowledge gaps. Basic research in these areas will unveil key cues used by H. hampei during its host location and colonization phases, thus, opening up new and innovative possibilities to effectively control the pest. For this, important aspects of the biology and chemical ecology of the coffee berry borer will be investigated, such as: (1) the major host location cues used by the females during their dispersal and colonization phases, including the search for a possible aggregation pheromone of H. hampei (in collaboration with Dr. Baldwyn Torto, icipe), (2) the functional characterization of the olfactory system inH. hampei focusing on coupled gas chromatography-single sensillum investigations (in collaboration with Prof. Bill Hansson, Max Planck Institute Jena), (3) possible alternative host plants or non-host plants of H. hampei among wild Rubiaceae in East African forests, and their volatiles that possibly attract and/ or repel the beetles (in collaboration with Dr. Aaron Davis, Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, UK), and (4) the structure of microbial populations associated with H. hampei as well as the metabolic processes that these microbial diversity might be involved in (in collaboration with Dr. Eoin L. Brodie, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA and Dr. Fernando E. Vega, USDA Maryland, USA).