Friday, June 26, 2009

One very happy scientist and one very sexed German Cockroach....

The sexual chemistry of the German cockroach has baffled scientists for years. Meanwhile the insect, which is one of the most serious food and residential pests worldwide, has been busily fouling up the planet essentially unhindered. Blattella germanica plagues humans in homes, apartments, restaurants, supermarkets, hospitals and any buildings where food is stored, prepared or served. The cockroach is notoriously resilient and difficult to control.

But homeland security for the pesky cockroach has just become a thing of the past. A team of entomologists working at Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and North Carolina State University have succeeded in isolating, characterizing and synthesizing the sex pheromone of the female German cockroach, thus providing an important new tool for the control and management of the pest. The study was reported in Science earlier this month.

"We expect this pheromone to provide the basis for powerful new tools to eliminate populations of this insidious pest," said Wendell L. Roelofs, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Insect Biochemistry at Cornell. The pheromone, gentisyl quinone isovalerate, or "blattellaquinone," as the scientists call it, has proven to be a highly effective lure in field trapping tests.
"Understanding this new chemical structure should prove invaluable in monitoring and control," said Roelofs.

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