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Electrophysiological and Behavioral Activity of (E)-2-Hexenal in the Granary Weevil and Its Application in Food Packaging

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The purpose of this work was to develop a biodegradable carrier material to control insect pests in cereal products. To this aim, (E)-2-hexenal was used, being a natural compound with antimicrobial activity that is also commonly adopted as a flavoring agent. Three coating layers of polycaprolactone (PCL) were spread onto the internal side of a paperboard carton, the first being the active coating containing (E)-2-hexenal. The antennal sensitivity of Sitophilus granarius to a broad range of doses of (E)-2-hexenal was first demonstrated. Next, the ability of different concentrations of this compound to disrupt the orientation of adult S. granarius beetles to odors of intact wheat kernels was established in a two-choice pitfall bioassay. In addition, invasion tests were carried out over an 8-week period to highlight the effects of the biobased repellent packaging and their potential persistence. The results demonstrated that during the entire monitoring period, the percentage of S. granarius adults found in cartons coated with (E)-2-hexenal–loaded multilayer PCL was about 10 % of the total number of insects used in the bioassay, very low compared with the respective control samples, thus assessing both the effectiveness and persistence of the repellent system developed. Although the infestation level of treated packages was reduced relative to the infestation levels in the controls, any infestation of food packages is unacceptable to consumers, so further tests are required to determine whether infestation can be completely prevented using (E)-2-hexenal.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Agro-environmental Sciences, Chemistry and Plant Protection, University of Foggia, Via Napoli 25, 71122 Foggia, Italy 2: Department of Food Sciences, Agricultural Faculty, University of Foggia, Via Napoli 25, 71122 Foggia, Italy 3: Department of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Faculty, University of Molise, Via De Sanctis, 86100 Campobasso, Italy 4: Department of Food Sciences, Agricultural Faculty, University of Foggia, Via Napoli 25, 71122 Foggia, Italy.

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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