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sex pheromomes of Ixodes ricinus

Dan Holdsworth drh92 at aber.ac.uk
Thu Mar 27 13:26:16 EST 1997

In article <5heisg$70k_001 at salford.ac.uk>, BIP556 at news.salford.ac.uk
(D.R.Hulse) writes:
>Im doing a masters degree research project into the sex pheromones and 
>host attractants  of the hard tick, Ixodes ricinus, which is a vector 
>of Lyme Disease. Volatile attractant and a non-volatile sex pheromones 
>will be collected by air entrainment etc, and their effects on tick 
>studied, with a view to using them in trap development.
> If anyone knows of any useful references for this project I would be 
>extremely grateful.

Do a search of journals like the Journal of Chemical Ecology first of all.

Ixodes ricinus in pretty widespread, and even occurs in the UK, as a sheep
tick. It's quite possible that someone's tried to find out what it's 
sex pheromone is, although disrupting pheromone communication in a tick isn't
what I'd think of as the optimal method of control.

The work on insects done at Rothamsted Experimental Station by Pickett, 
woodcock, and others is probably a good place to look also, seeing as these
people developed a very useful linking of a gas chromatograph, 
Mass Spectrometer, and electrophysiology system. 

The system works by taking the excretory/secretory products collected from
the ticks, putting these onto a GC column, and dividing the output of the
GC between the Mass Spec and the electrophys system. 

You end up being able to identify the GC peaks that are sensed by the insect
antenna, and as a bonus you get a Mass Spectograph of the compounds at the
same time. It's a fantastic system; I only wish that there were a comparable
system for work with water based pheromones.

We who work on those compounds have still to use the laborious HPLC to
then freeze dry the fractions, then bio-assay each fraction. Once you have
a fraction that's interesting, then the fun begins...

It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion, it is by the beans of Java
that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a
warning, it is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
Dan Holdsworth, drh92 at aber.ac.uk, ** SPAMMERS WILL BE FILTERED **

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